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Research Paper: Mother Mary Jones and Her Contribution to Labour History

4 pages
888 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Mother Mary Jones was born in Ireland but moved to the United States where she made her legacy in different areas (National Womens Hall of Fame Para. 1). The legacy of Mother Mary Jones did not begin until she was about 50 years old. Her activities contributed immensely to labour history and the history of the United States as a whole. The earliest evidence of Jones contribution to the labour history of the United States was when she became a labour organizer (National Womens Hall of Fame Para. 1). The plight of workers during that time in the United States is what motivated Jones to take up this career. Through her husband, who was also undergoing the inhumane treatment of workers, Mother Jones knew that she had to do something to rescue these workers from such oppression. Her husband and children had died during this time (National Womens Hall of Fame Para. 3). Besides this, she lost her business to natural causes while staying in Chicago.

With the passing away of her family, Mother Mary Jones had to focus on something that would distract her mind away from the grief and also would ensure that other people do not die of such causes as her husband and children did. Her major move was to build relationships with workers that were undergoing inhumane treatment (National Womens Hall of Fame Para. 4). These workers were experiencing poor working conditions, and they also received low wages that did not match the number of hours that they were working. In cases that these workers attempted to fight for their rights, they received threats from their employers such as being fired or physically harmed.

Over the years since she began the campaign, Mother Jones became on the most prominent advocates for the rights of workers (AFL-CIO Para. 1). She motivated both men and women to fight for their rights and she was always in the frontline in advocating for these rights. Her campaigns began with the mine workers who experienced the worst working conditions. One unique thing about Jones campaigns was that it involved both adults and children (AFL-CIO Para. 2). As the men were on the streets protesting, the women guarded the mines while the children used banners to state their demands. Mary became famous all over the United States because her campaigns were concentrated in every place in the United States where workers were experiencing oppression.

Mary Jones was also among the pioneers of unionization (AFL-CIO Para. 3). Before her husband had died, he called for the formation of unions and Mary took up this role after his death. Through her leadership, different unions were formed and she became the mother of all unions. Over 9000 miners in the United States stood with Mary and her policies (AFL-CIO Para. 7). She led a nationwide strike that saw almost all mine workers in the United States going to the streets. Through her campaigns, Mary Jones faced different kinds of threats, and was also arrested several times. In one instance, Mary Jones appeared before the congress when more than 20 miners were killed (AFL-CIO Para. 9). She was agitated by the fact that the miners had been attacked and killed by the government that was meant to protect them. She also advocated for the abolishment of child labour that was high in the United States during that time.

The Knight of Labour, an organization of workers, is the first place that Mary made her address (Barga Para. 6). This was a peaceful organization that was formed in Tennessee. It is from this address that Mary began public speaking in light of the plight of workers in the United States. She became an active member of this organization and helped them in different ways. Jones can be described as the woman who led other women to believe that they could fight for their rights just as the men did. However, Mary was not an advocate of peaceful strikes, and she was well aware that they made little or no effect (Barga Para. 8). She was therefore more active in strikes that involved dealing directly with the authorities. Despite the death of men, women, and children, she did not relent in her effort of ensuring equality for all workers.

In Chicago, Mary helped in the formation of different groups that were important in bringing the required changes (Barga Para. 10). Among the issues that the workers were fighting for in Chicago was reduced working hours. Mary convinced her people through speeches that she gave all the time, and also funds that she sourced from different sponsors that she used in organizing these events. Despite experiencing failure in many instances, Mary Jones did not give up on her quest. She became an important figure in the United States, and many years after she had passed away, a lot of changes were made in American Labour. Oppression of employees and child labour was done away with. Mary Jones was thus an important figure in the United States.


Works Cited

Barga, Michael. Jones, Mary Harris Mother. Virginia Commonwealth University. 2018. Web. <>

American Federation of Labour (AFL)- Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Mother Jones. 2018. Web. <>

National Womens Hall of Fame. Mary Mother Harris Jones. 2018. Web. <>


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