1884 LIBERTY SEATED 25C, MOTTO PR67
GEM WHITE. ONLY 875 STRUCK.
Thanks to the overworked and often exploited workers, many Americans now enjoy an eight hour work day. Prior to the Union movement of the mid-to-late 1800s workers often worked over one hundred hours a week, this left little time for their families, rest, and other outside activities. The earliest recorded mention of an eight hour day came from a Welsh manufacturer, Robert Owen, in 1817: “Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” Though Owen's words didn’t resonate in Europe for another decade, they certainly hit home in the United States. Almost as soon as the Civil War ended Unions formed and protests were in abundance. Several large cities participated in the labor strikes whose newest focus was the eight hour days. One of the largest epicenters was Chicago, which was later considered the national headquarters for the movement by several union groups and societies. In fact, it was on May 1, 1884 – the seventeenth annual May Day protest – that the workers and sympathizers made a significant stride toward an implemented eight hour work day. Several of these workers were tired of waiting for legislative action, so they decided direct action was necessary. Of course the actual date was not immediate, instead it was scheduled for two years later to gather enough support. Regardless this 1884 protest helped emphasize the importance of labor reform and highlighted the absolute need for a mandated, shorter work day.