The Molly Maguires

We are having our fair share of protests these days but if you look back in history we have always had our share of protests….both non-violent and violent alike.

One of those anarchic type groups that seldom gets any mention when history is mentioned is the Molly Maguires.

Louis Adamic’s history of the Molly Maguires: a secret society of Irish-born mine workers in the US who terrorised the exploitative mine bosses of the time.

In the US in the mid-19th century trade-unionism was tame and timorous. Most of the strikes ended disastrously for the labor organizations concerned. There were labor unions whose membership pledged itself to “avoid exciting topics.” Labor leaders, so called, were for the most part men who neither labored nor led: aspiring third-rate politicians and windy orators who had little capacity for understanding the new industrial forces as they affected the worker; or reformers and lopsided idealists, full of lovely vagaries and longings, who had drawn their original inspiration and their terminology from the writings of the utopian Socialists and the Brook-Farmers. They met in labor conventions to pronounce solemnly upon the nobility of toil and recite verses about the golden sweatdrops upon the laborer’s honest brow, which “shine brighter than diamonds in a coronet.”

Source: The Molly Maguires, 1850-1875 – Louis Adamic

Just another trip down memory lane in the Professor’s Classroom…..there is so much about the struggle of the American worker that seldom gets any attention….it should even if you do not agree with their tactics….it is still part of our national heritage.


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