Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/22

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March 20, 1832 they would only work ten hours." In December of that year (1831) delegates from several parts of New England held a meeting in Providence and issued a call for a convention to be held in Boston in February 1832. This convention gave birth to the New England Association, and voted to establish the ten-hour day.

77. Did it take in others than wage workers?
Yes, and this was a fundamental weakness. It showed its concern and solicitude for the small employer "who is exposed to a competition that is frequently ruinous from the disproportionate means of those who contend."
78. How did the working people respond to this organization?
It is recorded that the factory operatives proved a disappointment. The New Haven delegates to the convention of 1833 complained that "the absence of delegates from the factory villages gives reason to fear that the operatives in the factories are already subdued to the bidding of the employers—that they are already sold to the oppressor, that they have felt the chains riveted upon themselves and their children, and despair of redemption. The Farmers and Mechanics, then, are the last hope of the American people. If they falter, from ignorance or from fear, if they are diverted from their object by deception or by reproaches, the next generation will find its workingmen pusillanimous subjects of an aristicratic government, naked, famished and in hovels, sowing that others may reap, and building palaces for others to inhabit."
79. What was the general program of this movement?
"To mature measures to concentrate the efforts of the labouring classes, to regulate the hours of labor, by one uniform standard, to promote the cause of education and general information, to reform abuses practiced upon them, and to maintain their rights as American Freemen." It proposed to establish "committees in each state, to collect and publish facts respecting the condition of labouring men, women, and children, and abuses practiced upon them by their employers." They also proposed to petition legislatures on the sub-