The Knights of Labor
- Labor unions arose in the nineteenth century as increasing numbers of Americans took jobs in factories, mines, and mills in the growing industrial economy.
- The Knights of Labor, founded in 1869, was the first major labor organization in the United States. The Knights organized unskilled and skilled workers, campaigned for an eight hour workday, and aspired to form a cooperative society in which laborers owned the industries in which they worked.
- The Knights’ membership collapsed following the 1886 Haymarket Square riot in Chicago. By 1886 the American Federation of Labor (AFL), an alliance of skilled workers’ trade unions, was growing.