h2. What Happened?
Amidst the fast-changing American economy, conflicts began to arise between management and labor workers. In 1890 the price of steel products started to decline, causing the general manager of Andrew Carnegie's steel mill in Pennsylvania, Henry C. Frick, to cut wages and break the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers. Carnegie supported Frick's plan an allowed the manager to do whatever it took to force the union to work until their contract ran out. The union was not accepting of the new conditions so Frick began locking the workers out of the mill. In July all the workers were discharged and 3,000 voted to strike. Frick hired a private army of Pinkerton Detective Agents to protect the mill and the strikebreakers. After several men were killed and wounded in a battle between the workers and the detectives, the governor of Pennsylvania called out the state militia. They took over the plant and the workers returned after four months once their resources were gone. The strike was broken on November 20, 1892.
h2. Why Was This Event Significant?
This even emphasized the clashing of capitalist drive for profit and the rights of workers. The workers union did not stand a chance against the force of Andrew Carnagie's power paired with the force of the state militia and the worker's rights were stripped away in order to fulfill the greed of a corporation.
h2. How Is It Related to Literary Naturalism?
This struggle is representative of Karl Marx and his argument of economic naturalism in which political economy sees the worker as an animal or labor. The worker is degraded to the level of a machine, expected to sacrifice body and mind. At whatever cost to the producer, steel must be produced without concern for the rights of the workers.
Rees, Jonathan. "Homestead in Context: Andrew Carnegie and the Decline of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers." Pennsylvania History (1997): 509-533.