The Reason for Labor Day
While many people in America excitedly await the three-day weekend that Labor Day brings, it’s easy to forget why we celebrate Labor Day in the first place. Having the day off of work to celebrate the end of summer is definitely nice, but it’s even more important to remember who the day is meant to honor: the American workforce.
Labor Day stemmed from the 19th century. Trade and labor union movements began to ripple across the country because of the ongoing Industrial Revolution and it was impossible to ignore. Americans were commonly working 12 hour days and 7 days a week. This was before child labor laws were set in place, so often times children were forced to work in the same unsafe conditions as the adults. To fight back, the unions decided to declare one day of the year Labor Day. While Oregon became the first state to officially declare it a holiday, it quickly spread across the country - before the government even declared it a Federal Holiday, 30 states were celebrating it!
The tides definitely turned in 1896 when President Grover Cleveland declared the first Monday in September as Labor Day. While the road to this declaration was not easy (riots and violent clashes ensued in the process), it is a vital part of our American history and a tribute to American workers, which is why we still celebrate it to this day.
Information for this post was found at dol.gov/general/laborday/history and time.com/3222093/labor-day-school-white-history-monday-september/.