“argumentative” essay

Like Writing Assignment 2, Writing Assignment 3 requires you to write an “argumentative” essay. Here are the main elements of the essay:

1) Your paper will start with an introductory paragraph, including a thesis statement at the end of the paragraph. The thesis statement is the basic argument you will be making in the paper. In this paper, the thesis statement will concisely summarize the two factors which you believe were most important in enabling the labor movement to grow in membership and influence from 1929 to 1939.

2) Each of the subsequent body paragraphs should follow a logical progression and be in direct support of your argument. Support your points with specific examples from the reading assignments. When quoting material in your essay from class readings, insert the citation into the appropriate place in the paragraph in a parenthesis. For example, if you are quoting material from page 436 of the textbook, use the following format:

“The NIRA came under particularly fierce attack in part because the process of writing and enforcing industry codes brought to the surface sharp conflicts among competing interests” (WBA, p. 436).

Several other examples of citations:

Reference to a Video – (Matewan Video, Class #5)
Instructor Lecture – (Slott, Class #7)
3) You will complete the essay with a concluding paragraph which restates/summarizes the thesis statement in the light of the evidence which you have provided in the body paragraphs. You may also want to draw some lessons from the argument you’ve made in terms of our current situation.

4) Finally, include a “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper (this page does not count toward the total length of your paper). Examples:

Rosenzweig, Roy et. al (2008). Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s History, Volume Two: 1877 to the Present. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Matewan (Video, Class #5)
Slott, Class #7

Writing Assignment 3
From 1900 to 1939, the labor movement’s economic power and political clout varied considerably. At the turn of the 20th century, employers were in a relatively strong position while unions had limited influence. However, during World War I (1914-1918), union membership increased and labor gained both economic and political power. Labor’s forward movement did not last very long, however. The labor movement suffered a significant setback during the “lean years” of the 1920s, when membership declined due to a changing economy, employers’ anti-union strategies, and the federal government’s pro-business policies.

At first, the Great Depression, which began with the stock market crash of October 1929, further weakened labor unions, as massive unemployment crippled labor’s bargaining power. However, by 1933, unions were making a comeback. In 1934, labor militancy was on the rise. In that year, there were “general strikes” in three American cities and an industry-wide textile strike. These struggles turned out to be the beginning of a massive upsurge in labor organizing during the 1930s, which culminated in industrial unions organizing the largest industrial corporations in the United States.

Assigned Readings: Chapter 8 and Chapter 9
Please respond to the following question:

What were the two most important factors which led to the labor movement’s growing militancy and strength from 1929 to 1939?

In your response, choose two of the following three factors:

Laws and policies of the Roosevelt administration (First and Second New Deals) which facilitated an improved economy and more employment, and supported union organizing
Militant, mass strikes and the formation of a new industrial union federation, the CIO
The role of radical activists within the labor movement

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