As Canada's most industrialised province, Ontario served as the regional centre of the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, an organisation which embodied a late nineteenth-century working-class vision of an alternative to the developing industrial-capitalist society. The Order opposed the exploitation of labor, and cultivated working-class unity by providing an institutional and cultural rallying point for North American workers. By 1886 thousands of industrial workers had enrolled within the ranks of Ontario's local and district assemblies. This book examines the rise and fall of the Order, providing case studies of its experience in Toronto and Hamilton and chronicling its impact across the province.
List of tables, figures, and maps; Preface; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Part I. Overview: 1. The working class and industrial capitalist development in Ontario to 1890; 2. 'Warp, woof, and web': the structure of the Knights of Labor in Ontario; Part II. The Local Setting: 3. Toronto and the organization of all workers; 4. Hamilton and the home club; Part III. The Wider Experience: Taking the Bad with the Good: 5. 'Unscrupulous rascals and the most infamous damn liars and tricksters at large': the underside of the Knights of Labor; 6. The order in politics: the challenge of 1883–1887; 7. 'Politicians in the order': the conflicts of decline, 1887–1894; 8. 'Spread the light': forging a culture; 9. The people's strike: class conflict and the Knights of Labor; Part IV. Conclusion: 10. Accomplishment and failure; Appendix; Notes; Selected bibliography; Index.