The Armies of Labor

The Armies of Labor
A Chronicle of the Organized Wage-Earners

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The Armies of Labor by Samuel P. Orth

Published:

1919

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The Armies of Labor
A Chronicle of the Organized Wage-Earners

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Book Excerpt

well disciplined that they dominated every craft and controlled every detail in every trade. The relation of master to journeyman and apprentice, the wages, hours, quantity, and quality of the output, were all minutely regulated. Merchant guilds, similarly constituted, also prospered. The magnificent guild halls that remain in our day are monuments of the power and splendor of these organizations that made the towns of the later Middle Ages flourishing centers of trade, of handicrafts, and of art. As towns developed, they dealt the final blow to an agricultural system based on feudalism; they became cities of refuge for the runaway serfs, and their charters, insuring political and economic freedom, gave them superior advantages for trading.

The guild system of manufacture was gradually replaced by the domestic system. The workman's cottage, standing in its garden, housed the loom and the spinning wheel, and the entire family was engaged in labor at home. But the workman, thus apparently independent, w

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