of the Knights of Labor
of the Knights of Labor was established on January 1, 1878.
The recent alarming
development and aggression of aggregated wealth, which, unless checked, will
invariably lead to the pauperization and hopeless degradation of the toiling
masses, render it imperative, if we desire to enjoy the blessings of life, that
a check should be placed upon its power and upon unjust accumulation, and a
system adopted which will secure to the laborer the fruits of his toil; and
as this much-desired object can only be accomplished by the thorough unification
of labor, and the united efforts of those who obey the divine injunction that
"In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread," we have formed the
Noble Order of the Knights of Labor With a view of securing the organization
and direction, by cooperative effort, of the power of the industrial classes;
and we submit to the world the object sought to be accomplished by our organization,
calling upon all who believe in securing "the greatest good to the greatest
number" to aid and assist us:
- To bring within
the folds of organization every department of productive industry, making
knowledge a standpoint for action, and industrial and moral worth, not wealth,
the true standard of individual and national greatness.
- To secure to
the toilers a proper share of the wealth that they create; more of the leisure
that rightfully belongs to them; more societal advantages; more of the benefits,
privileges, and emoluments of the world; in a word, all those rights and privileges
necessary to make them capable of enjoying, appreciating, defending, and perpetuating
the blessings of good government.
- To arrive at
the true condition of the producing masses in their educational, moral, and
financial condition, by demanding from the various governments the establishment
of bureaus of Labor Statistics.
- The establishment
of co-operative institutions, productive and distributive.
- The reserving
of the public landsthe heritage of the peoplefor the actual settler;not
another acre for railroads or speculators.
- The abrogation
of all laws that do not bear equally upon capital and labor, the removal of
unjust technicalities, delays, and discriminations in the administration of
justice, and the adopting of measures providing for the health and safety
of those engaged in mining, manufacturing, or building pursuits.
- The enactment
of laws to compel chartered corporations to pay their employees weekly, in
full, for labor performed during the preceding week, in the lawful money of
- The enactment
of laws giving mechanics and laborers a first lien on their work for their
- The abolishment
of the contract system on national, state, and municipal work.
- The substitution
of arbitration for strikes, whenever and wherever employers and employees
are willing to meet on equitable grounds.
- The prohibition
of the employment of children in workshops, mines, and factories before attaining
their fourteenth year.
- To abolish
the system of letting out by contract the labor of convicts in our prisons
and reformatory institutions.
- To secure for
both sexes equal pay for equal work.
- The reduction
of the hours of labor to eight per day, so that the laborers may have more
time for social enjoyment and intellectual improvement, and be enabled to
reap the advantages conferred by the laborsaving machinery which their brains
- To prevail
upon governments to establish a purely national circulating medium, based
upon the faith and resources of the nation, and issued directly to the people,
without the intervention of any system of banking corporations, which money
shall be a legal tender in payment of all debts, public or private.