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Analysis of Primary Sources: Lawrence Strike of February 1912 - Essay Example

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Analysis of Primary Sources: Lawrence Strike of February 1912

First, that these primary sources are based on firsthand experience of the events that took place (the workers strike at a textile mill in Lawrence). Second, each source is admittedly and unavoidably biased, but knowing in which way the source is biased is helpful for our analysis. Third, the accounts of the events that took place were full of details that enhanced their credibility as sources. And fourth, all sources were reliable, though in varying degrees, because they were written at a time close to the events that took place or by an eyewitness. We now tackle the questions one by one.
First is the question of credibility. Which of the three accounts do I find most credible Credibility depends on the quality of the source, so the source with the highest quality should rank highest in credibility.
"Proletario" was written from the workers' viewpoint in a poetic and dramatic tone with not-so-subtle hints of gross exaggeration. It talked of "poor children consumed by lack of food and hunger" coming to "New York because here they are wanted by the solidarity of the international proletariat" This would have been alright, but when the writer declares some two paragraphs later that "We are not sentimentalists" I am led to ask why I should believe a writer who contradicts himself. The clear bias of the writer shouts out so much that after a few paragraphs, instead of getting the reader's sympathy for the plight of the poor children, the report comes out as a piece of propaganda about Marxism as an ideology that attempts to assert itself by sheer force.
"Vorse", on the other hand, was a deliberately narrated first-person account of the people behind the strike. The writing was persuasive and intelligent, the bias though obvious was subtle, and the narration of the event's impact on the author was poignant. Like the others, it was meant to be publicly absorbed and digested. Its only problem was that it was written twenty three years after the event, in 1935, which leads me to doubt whether all those details she wrote into her account were really there or mere figments of her imagination, discolored by historical events that have taken place ever since.
"NYT" had only one shortcoming: it was an article in a middle-class newspaper that may (or may not) have been edited by editors or their capitalist backers to tone down the violence and abuses of the government and businessmen who were the object of the strike and the children's long exodus. However, having been written in a reportorial or journalistic tone, it came out as a plate of information that was fresh and at the same time something that I could digest intellectually without having to contend with the shrill noise that "Proletario" generated.
In fact, as I read "NYT", there were sentences (such as "The police acted kindly, but firmly. Few in the crowd understood what they said, and that was why they sometimes used their hands to push them back, in a firm but never in a brutal way.") that led me to ask myself if this were indeed possible, and the answer was yes. As "Vorse" herself narrated ...Show more

Summary

This essay analyzes primary sources that deal with two related events, the workers' strike at a factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts and the trip of the children of the strikers from Lawrence to New York. The three primary sources will be referred to as "Vorse" (Vorse, 1935), "NYT" (New York Times, 1912), and "Proletario" (Di Gregorio and Mazzitelli, 1912)…
Author : jacobszella
Analysis of Primary Sources: Lawrence Strike of February 1912 essay example
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