Date of Graduation
The industrial workers of Hancock County developed a distinctively rural working-class culture during the twentieth century. The county remained largely untouched by industry until the beginning of the twentieth century. Industrialists created factory towns out of farmland along the Ohio River, partly to capitalize on the advantages they perceived that the countryside offered: cheap land, a new and loyal workforce, the absence of established working-class organizations, and the opportunity to create more perfect factories and factory towns. New steel mills and potteries quickly transformed the county. Industrialization quadrupled the county's population and attracted migrants from north-central Appalachia, the American South, and Europe. The new workers engaged in an ongoing struggle for control with local industrialists, who in turn adopted new technologies to undercut the position of skilled tin plate roller and heaters and skilled potters. As the local companies relied more on semi-skilled operatives and unskilled laborers, ethnicity, race, and gender became the more dominant defining characteristics of the workforce. Companies strategically tapped into various pools of workers, while the workers themselves continued to exert pressure on the company through formal and informal means. Through these struggles, the industrial workers of Hancock County won higher wages and benefits from the local companies, which they supplemented with the self-help activities drawn from their rural traditions. Increasingly, these industrial workers came to appreciate local control over jobs and labor relations and took more localistic political stances than their metropolitan counterparts in cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles. As a result, New Deal institutions and ideologies failed to take root among these rural-industrial workers.
Martin Lou, Lou, "Working for independence: The failure of New Deal politics in a rural industrial place." (2008). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9361.