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145. What was done at this convention?
It became the battleground in a contest between the greenbackers and the Socialists. Another convention was held in Pittsburgh in 1876.
146. What did the Pittsburgh convention accomplish?
Generally speaking, the economic idea prevailed, tho the greenbackers seemed to triumph to such an extent that the socialists withdrew from the sessions. The convention decided that it was unwise to launch an independent political party, but advised a policy of bringing pressure to bear upon existing political parties.
147. Why did the Knights of Labor hold to secrecy?
There were many who believed that "the veil of mystery was more potent for good than the education of the masses in an open organization." However, the desire to wield national influence forced the abandonment of absolute secrecy, and we find a convention in Philadelphia, (July 3, 1876), taking the name of The National Labor League of North America. The opposition of the Catholic church, in localities where it controlled large numbers of working people, was a force to be reckoned with. Besides, the secrecy of the Molly Maguires and its results had an important bearing upon the decision of the K. of L. to come into the open. It was done haltingly, but it was eventually accomplished.
With all labor organizations that had adopted the policy of secrecy, the intention seems to have been that this course would keep the employers ignorant of what was transpiring in the meetings and of the programs which the unions arranged. Of course, this did not prove correct. Secret deliberations provided a fertile field upon which the profession of labor spy grew like a weed. The Knights of Labor came out definitely as a national labor organization, under its own name, in 1879.
148. What was the structure of The Knights of Labor?
It was a mass organization. It admitted to membership all persons over 18 years of age who "are working for wages, or who at any time worked for wages" but "no person who either sells, or makes his living by the sale of intoxicated drink, can be admitted, and no lawyer, doctor or banker can be admitted."
Local Assemblies were "composed of not less than ten