Community and conflict : a study of the working class and its relationships at the Canadian Lakehead, 1903-1913
Morrison, Jean F.
Master of Arts
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Labour history is frequently equated with the internal workings of trade unions and radical parties in isolation from the society on which they are based. This paper treats these institutions as important, though not the sole expressions of working class activity. It discusses reactions to labour unrest and industrial conflict from within the working class, and from without, and the effect of these reactions on community relationships. This paper demonstrates how the relationship of the working class with the middle class changed from one of amity in 1903 to one of hostility in 1913, and that this came about in two ways: (1) through the changing relationships of the principle sub-groupings within the working class, organized labour, the immigrant communities, and the radical parties; and, (2) through changes in middle class attitudes brought about by reactions to this first development and by changes in the local economy. The primary catalyst for change was violence which occurred in four labour disputes during the period. In examining the source of violence and the means of its suppression, the paper will argue that while cultural conditioning influenced the actions and attitudes of those involved, the nature of their class relationships was the decisive factor.