≡ Menu

Employees Want Wage Agreements

During Rutherford B. Hayes’s one term as president there were several great strikes among coal miners and railroad employees. These strikes spread all through New York and Pennsylvania, and even in the West. At one time there were more than one hundred and fifty thousand men out of work; and the strikers grew so unruly at Pittsburg that they destroyed much property, and ceased rioting only when the troops were called out to subdue them.

In 1868 our minister Burlingame had made a trade treaty with China, but when Hayes became President, Congress passed a bill to prevent the Chinese from coming over here. Hayes vetoed this bill and in 1878 received the first real Chinese embassy in the White House. There, their jewels, gorgeous costumes of finest silk, and gay peacock feathers caused a great sensation.

The most important event during Hayes’s term was that the government said it was ready to pay gold in exchange for every “greenback” issued during the war. But now that the people knew they could get gold in exchange for the paper money whenever they wanted it, they decided to keep on using bills, because they are so much easier to carry than coin. At the same time, Congress passed a Silver Bill, providing that the government should buy and coin a certain amount of silver every month, using sixteen times as much silver in a silver dollar as of gold in a gold dollar.

Before Hayes’s term ended, a dispute about fisheries between Canada and the United States was settled in a friendly way, by our paying Great Britain five and a half millions for the right to fish along the Canadian coast.