Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Thomas Andrews

Second Advisor

Fred Anderson

Third Advisor

Andrea Feldman

Abstract

This thesis examines the involvement of women, both working and upper class, in the Colorado Coal Field Strike, 1913-15. First, I will provide a background for the strike including the Industrial Revolution, the rise of big business, and the influx of immigration which shaped the mining towns. Second, I investigate the participation of mining town women and their complex social and political identities. These women fought to improve their domestic goals, not challenge them. Despite this, they understood the need to utilize Colorado’s womens’ suffrage to get the working class into office. Third, there will be a discussion on the Ludlow Massacre and the nation’s reaction to the event. This battle, branded as a “massacre” pushed upper class citizens to protest for the humanitarian treatment of workers and their families. Then, I investigate the actions of more prominent citizens, first those of upper class women in Denver and then the protests of socialist Upton Sinclair. The upper class women of Denver fought politically enforcing their influence in politics and adding credibility to their citizenship and suffrage, which women gained in Colorado in 1893. Finally, implications of the strike are discussed including industrial reform, the participation of working class women in strikes, and the importance of considering women in public relations and political decisions.