Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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teachers-regimentThe American Civil War (1861-1865) was viewed by many as a fight over labor rights -- in Abraham Lincoln's words, could this nation survive "half slave and half free?" "Free labor" was threatened by slave labor, workers forced to labor without compensation and without the right to own their own home, educate themselves or even protect their children from being sold. Some worker groups at that time were abolitionists, advocates for an end of slavery. Others joined the war effort to keep the United States as one nation. In 1863, the U.S. government instituted a draft, requiring young men to join the military. Before that, soldiers volunteered. This 1861 poster was from Illinois' first public college, the Illinois State Normal School (now Illinois State University), recruiting students to join the war effort. President Abraham Lincoln authorized a "Schoolmasters' Regiment" from the school. The Illinois 33rd Regiment became known as the "Teacher's Regiment," and it was led by the Normal School's first president, Charles Hovey, who was commissioned a Colonel. (image courtesy the McLean County Historical Society)
"And I long to see the day when Labor will have the destiny of the nation in her own hands and she will stand as a united force and show the world what the workers can do." --- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, 1830-1930

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