Land and Labour League

Land and Labour League

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

In October 1869 George Odger helped to establish the Land and Labour League. Its formation was precipitated by discussion of the land question at the IWMA Basle Congress earlier that year. The League advocated the full nationalisation of land and was considered to be a republican working-class movement. Other members included Charles Bradlaugh, Johann Eccarius and Benjamin Lucraft. (1) After making one speech he was "set upon by a Conservative mob... and was severely beaten, suffering injuries that confined him for some time". (2)

The IWMA gave its support to strikes taking place in Europe. The financial help given by British trade unions to the striking Paris bronze workers led to their victory. The IWMA was also involved in helping Geneva builders and Basle silk-weavers. Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel were gradually building up support for the organisation in Germany. David McLellan points out that the IWA was "steadily gaining in size, success and prestige". (3)

Karl Marx pointed out that: "The International was founded in order to replace the socialist and semi-socialist sects with a genuine organisation of the working class for its struggle... Socialist sectarianism and a real working-class movement are in inverse ratio to each other. Sects have a right to exist only so long as the working class is not mature enough to have an independent movement of its own: as soon as that moment arrives sectarianism becomes reactionary... The history of the International is a ceaseless battle of the General Council against dilettantist experiments and sects." (4)

The element of the grotesque was very noticeable to me in the most striking collection of the shabbier English types that I had seen since I came to London. The occasion of my seeing them was the funeral of Mr. George Odger, which befell some four or five weeks before the Easter period. Mr. George Odger, it will be remembered, was an English radical agitator, of humble origin, who had distinguished himself by a perverse desire to get into Parliament. He exercised, I believe, the useful profession of shoemaker, and he knocked in vain at the door that opens but to golden keys. But he was a useful and honorable man, and his own people gave him an honorable burial. I emerged accidentally into Piccadilly at the moment they were so engaged, and the spectacle was one I should have been sorry to miss. The crowd was enormous, but I managed to squeeze through it and to get into a hansom cab that was drawn up beside the pavement, and here I looked on as from a box at a play. Though it was a funeral that was going on I will not call it a tragedy; but it was a very serious comedy. The day happened to be magnificent - the finest of the year. The funeral had been taken in hand by the classes who are socially unrepresented in Parliament, and it had the character of a great popular "manifestation." The hearse was followed by very few carriages, but the cortege of pedestrians stretched away in the sunshine, up and down the classic gentility of Piccadilly, on a scale that was highly impressive. Here and there the line was broken by a small brass band - apparently one of those bands of itinerant Germans that play for coppers beneath lodginghouse windows; but for the rest it was compactly made up of
what the newspapers call the dregs of the population. It was the London rabble, the metropolitan mob, men and women, boys and girls, the decent poor and the indecent, who had scrambled into the ranks as they gathered them up on their passage, and were making a sort of solemn spree of it.

Child Labour Simulation (Teacher Notes)

Richard Arkwright and the Factory System (Answer Commentary)

Robert Owen and New Lanark (Answer Commentary)

James Watt and Steam Power (Answer Commentary)

The Domestic System (Answer Commentary)

The Luddites (Answer Commentary)

Handloom Weavers (Answer Commentary)

(1) F. M. Leventhal, George Odger : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Richard Josiah Hinton, English Radical Leaders: Brief Biographies of European Public Men (1875) page 334

(3) Francis Wheen, Karl Marx (1999) page 319

(4) David McLellan, Karl Marx: A Biography (1973) page 348

Land and Labor, 1866�

Land and Labor, 1866� examines the remaking of the South's labor system in the tumultuous aftermath of emancipation. Picking up where Land and Labor, 1865 left off, it covers the period from January 1866 to the onset of Congressional Reconstruction in March 1867. It depicts the continuing struggle of unenfranchised and impoverished ex-slaves to control their own labor, establish their families as viable economic units, and secure independent possession of land and other productive resources. Among the topics it addresses are the dispossession of settlers in the Sherman reserve of coastal South Carolina and Georgia, the reordering of labor on plantation and farm, nonagricultural labor, new relations of credit and debt, long-distance labor migration, and the efforts of former slaves to rent, purchase, and homestead land. The documents – many of them in the freedpeople's own words – speak eloquently for themselves, while the editors' interpretive essays provide context and illuminate the major themes.

Land and Labor, 1866� received the Thomas Jefferson Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government.

The League of Nations and Labour

F OUR years of warfare on an unprecedented scale cannot have failed to produce a passionate desire for peace. For the multitudes of people in every country, whose lives have been darkened by the present tragedy the struggle can have only one issue worthy of the sacrifices and sufferings they have endured: no settlement can be accepted as final which does not offer to them the promise that henceforth upon earth there shall be no more war.

The experiences of the last four years have, by a strange paradox, converted one of the strongest influences making for war into a powerful argument for permanent peace. Fear of military aggression on the part of other nations has led every people to believe that the only way to keep peace is to be ready for war. Under the influence of fear the people have been persuaded to spend their energies in building up costly armaments. Fear is the chief sanction of the system of conscription which has enslaved the manhood of Europe for generations. Increase of armaments led to war-scares war-scares led to further increase of armaments. In this vicious circle the nations have ​ moved, and will continue to move, hating one another because they fear one another's designs, until they learn that the ultimate guarantee against war lies in the common will for peace.

In the stress of this mighty conflict the common will for peace has been evoked in support of the idea of a League of Nations and the very fear which formerly made for war has become the most potent argument that can be used on behalf of this constructive proposal. All thinking people, whatever their political views may be, now realize that if some means of preventing future war cannot be devised civilization itself will be destroyed. Enlightened self-interest has combined with the highest form of political and social idealism in support of the idea of world-peace. War consumes not only the material wealth of civilization and the finest manhood of the race it paralyses the impulse towards social progress and spreads black despair in the hearts of men and women devoted to great causes. It destroys the hope of social betterment and blocks every project of reform.

In the atmosphere of international ill-will, under the perpetual menace of war, estranged from one another by suspicion, jealousy, and fear, the nations will not be able to carry out the great schemes of social reconstruction upon which the best minds of our time are now engaged. Nor will any country be able to afford the cost of social reconstruction on the grand scale if the threat of another and greater war ​ compels expenditure upon armaments, and the energies of its peoples are absorbed in preparation for the struggle.

This is the first and most compelling reason why the organized working-class movement supports the proposal of a League of Nations. Labour recognizes that in this proposal lies the hope of deliverance for all the peoples from the severest economic pressure and the most terrible risks of suffering and loss, from heavy burdens of taxation to maintain large armies and navies. Our hope for the future is bound up with this question of security. The specific programme of reconstruction in which Labour is interested presupposes two essential conditions which must be fulfilled before it can be carried into practical effect: the first condition is the defeat and destruction of Prussian militarism the second is the establishment of a League of Nations which will make the world safe for democracy.

The project of a League of Nations is the keystone of the new social order that Labour desires to build. It stands also in the forefront of the Labour policy of international conciliation. Neither national reconstruction nor international conciliation is possible as long as the people are preoccupied with the menace of foreign aggression, and Governments are forced to spend huge sums yearly upon the means of national self-defence. In the past many necessary reforms have had to be postponed or altogether abandoned for ​ this reason. Future Chancellors of the Exchequer will have a far more difficult task to raise the revenue necessary to meet the enormous charges arising out of the War and if they have to impose heavy taxation for military purposes the nation will be unable to bear the additional burden of expenditure involved in the great and far-reaching schemes of social reconstruction which the War has made imperative. If nations are to be forced to continue to pay the blood-tax, even on the pre-war scale, it is useless to talk of reform.

But we can be quite certain that warlike expenditure on the pre-war scale, unless measures can be devised to safeguard the security of nations, will not be adequate: if the nations have to organize their resources for future war they will do so in a far more thorough fashion. Conscription will become a permanent system in this country, with all that conscription implies as a drain upon the life-blood of the people standing armaments will grow ever larger and more costly industry will be impoverished, and the natural growth of trade will be checked and indeed civilization itself will collapse under the strain of another war. From these evils there is no escape except by way of a League of Nations, which will guarantee peace and security for all peoples, and leave them free to develop their material and moral resources without the menace of recurrent wars.

But British Labour supports on other grounds the ​ proposal to establish a League of Nations. No other practicable suggestion has been made which will have the effect of promoting the unity of peoples. The aim which organized labour keeps steadily in view in the field of international affairs is the solidarity of nations, because we realize that the final safeguard of peace does not lie in the machinery of judicial arbitration and conciliation, however skilfully devised, but in the spirit of international goodwill and the understanding between nations based upon the essential identity of their interests. Two—or twenty—nations at war are like one great nation committing suicide. The establishment of a League of Nations will be a dramatic declaration of the fact that the peoples of the world form one family, and will show that they have learned that war is a family quarrel which humiliates every member of it, and destroys the happiness and prosperity of the whole. When the League is established, it will keep before the eyes of all nations the truth that peace is the greatest of human blessings, and that a dynasty or a government bent on war is the enemy of the human race.

In the forefront of the policy of international conciliation to which the organized workers stand pledged this project is prominently placed. The organized proletariat conceive this war to be a struggle between two kinds of civilization and two irreconcilable systems of government—between the system which treats a country as if it were the private property of ​ its king, and gives one crowned person an almost unqualified right to dispose of the lives and property of his subjects, and the system which recognizes the right of democratic self-determination, and steadily and consistently develops this principle in politics and industry and social life. Seeing the War as a struggle to make the world safe for democracy, the organized workers declare that no conceivable issue of the War, however much it might contribute to national self-glorification, or an extension of territory for any nation, or increase of its political influence in the world, would compensate for the failure to secure such international machinery as will help to develop democratic institutions in every country, and curb the sinister forces that make for war.

The clearest and strongest affirmation of the organized proletariat in the allied countries, at the conference held in London last February, was that, whoever wins, the peoples will have lost unless an international system is established which will prevent war. 'It would mean nothing to declare the right of peoples to self-determination', the inter-allied conference said in its memorandum on war aims, 'if this right were left at the mercy of new violations and was not protected by a super-national authority. That authority can be no other than the League of Nations, which not only all the present belligerents, but every other independent State, should be pressed to join.'

​ Organized Labour, however, regards this League as something much more than an organization to prevent war. The prevention of war is indeed one of its cardinal objects: it involves the immediate establishment, by a solemn agreement of States, of International High Courts for the settlement of all disputes that are of a justiciable character, and for effective mediation between States upon other issues that vitally affect their honour or interest but are not susceptible to judicial treatment. But in Labour's view, the ultimate purpose of such a League is to create a common mind in the world, to make the nations conscious of the solidarity of their interests, and to enable them to perceive that the world is one, and not a number of separate countries divided by artificial frontiers.

Side by side with the international courts set up for purposes of conciliation and judicial arbitration the workers have, therefore, proclaimed their desire to further the project of an International Legislature. Representatives of every civilized State, if this project is realized, will co-operate with one another in shaping the body of international law by which we hope the intercourse of States will hereafter be regulated, and which will be accepted as binding upon the several nations that have joined the League. It is an essential condition of the scheme, as Labour understands it, that the consenting States shall pledge themselves to submit every issue between two or more of them to arbitration on the lines indicated and refusal to ​ accept such arbitration, or to submit to the settlement proposed by the court, could only be regarded as a deliberate aggression which would justify the League in making common cause against the aggressor, and in using any and every means at its disposal, economic or military, in order to compel the offending nation to keep the world's covenant of peace. That is a democratic doctrine. It was the greatest of modern Socialists, Jaurés himself, who pointed out that the question which of two belligerents was engaged in a war of national self-defence could be determined by showing which of them had refused to submit the issue to arbitration.

It is obvious that the proposed League of Nations can derive its authority only from the fact that it speaks for the public opinion of the world as a whole. In setting up the League, organized Labour insists that it shall be based on something more than an agreement between Governments: it must be the first step in creating a real League of Peoples. More than a hundred years ago, at the end of another great war, an attempt was made to realize a similar ideal. The League which then came into existence developed into a mere league of kings pledged to maintain the status quo, to protect the monarchical principle, to suppress every liberal and humanizing idea, to check every democratic movement in the direction of liberty and equality. The Holy Alliance which was established at the close of the Napoleonic Wars fell ​ to pieces because it was rooted in the idea of privilege: it was a league formed by rulers against their peoples.

Organized democracy to-day has resolved to establish a League of Nations on an entirely different foundation. It is pledged to a policy of pacific internationalism. It insists that the League must be based upon the idea of public law and the right of peoples, not merely upon the agreements of governments and kings. It believes that the League can only be established after the destruction of militarism on a foundation of true democratic freedom, beginning with freedom of trade and commercial intercourse, and including the abolition, by agreement, of compulsory military service and standing armaments, which limit the development of democracy and menace the existence of free institutions everywhere in the world.

In the view of organized Labour the decision to establish such a League, and willingness to accept its findings, imply the complete democratization of every country concerned. Peace cannot be maintained merely by getting together an international assembly of lawyers and diplomatists any more than it could be secured by standing armies and navies. The ultimate assurance of permanent peace lies in the resolute repudiation by every people of the tawdry and vulgar imperialism which rests upon the armed domination of one race over another. It is the League itself that will supersede the arbitrary powers that have hitherto ​ arrogated the right of choosing between peace and war. It will bring foreign policy under the control of popularly elected assemblies resolved to maintain the sovereign rights of peoples. It implies the suppression of secret diplomacy and the development of Parliamentary control over Cabinets. It will mean that a vigilant watch will be kept over the activities of Foreign Ministers, diplomatists, and the agents of international finance. It involves full publicity for all agreements between States. It will render powerless for further mischief the evil influence of the armament trusts which are so largely responsible for the awful tragedy in which the world is at present involved.

Of this struggle there can be only one issue: there is no place in the world for militarism and autocracy, which have darkened the lives of millions of human beings in these last years, have poisoned the political life of Europe for generations, and have thrown back the progress of the race perhaps for centuries. Merely to repair the ravages of the War will exhaust the energies of the nations for decades and if the War ends without adequate machinery being instituted to make future war impossible, no nation will be able to summon up the courage and strength to begin the task of reconstruction. Given a sense of security and a promise that their labour will not be in vain, the peoples will turn hopefully and resolutely to the tasks and duties of reconstruction. They will not ​ spare labour and sacrifice to replace the wealth that has been consumed.

But if the coming peace sows the seed of future war, if this project of a League of Nations to prevent war fails to materialize, and if the peoples are required to spend their strength in building up new armaments in preparation for new conflicts—then indeed we shall find that we have entered upon what Nietzsche called Europe's tragic era, the watchword of which will be not Reconstruction but Revolution, and in which the remaining treasures of our civilization may be totally consumed.

Democracy stands at the cross-roads. Whether the path taken is the one that leads to a new social order giving freedom and security to all, or the path that leads to revolutionary struggles and a violent and stormy close to the story of Western civilization, depends very largely upon the fate of this project of a League of Nations. If we fail here we fail irretrievably. Wars more frightful than the present will waste the substance of our race, and we shall lose even the belief in the possibility of progress.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aldon S. Lang and Christopher Long, &ldquoLand Grants,&rdquo Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and &ldquoFair Use&rdquo for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Timeline — Land Dispossession and Restitution in South Africa - 1995-2013

‘Red Ants’ evict people from Bredell. © Leonie Marinovich / South Photos /

July, The government evicts people who had seized the land at Bredell, deploying Wozani Security Company (known as the Red Ants). 10 July, The South African Council of Churches (SACC) issues a statement expressing its concern about the Bredell incident and urges all those involved to work towards defusing increasing tension in the area.

The Landless People’s Movement marches in Alexandra © Lori Waselchuk / South Photos /

July, The Landless People's Movement (LPM) is formed by leaders of various landless people of South Africa in response to evictions of farm workers and labour tenants from commercial farms. The LPM extends its goal to that of organizing to get back the land that was siezed during colonialism and apartheid. August, The government launches a new land redistribution policy, Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD), with the goal of establishing a class of African commercial farmers. Through the LRAD, the government hopes to transfer 30% of agricultural land by 2014. November, A Land Tenure Conference is held in Durban under the Theme ‘Finding Solutions Securing Rights’. 2004 February, The Communal Land Rights Act 11 is passed, and gives the Minister of Land Affairs power to transfer ownership of communal land from the state to communities under traditional authorities, named “administration committees”. 17 June, President Thabo Mbeki addresses a gathering at the District Six land claims celebration. October, Minister of Land Affairs Thoko Didiza hands back land to the Koka Matlou, Mabjaneng, Legata and Lebelo communities in the Limpopo Province. The four communities were forcibly removed from their lands in the 1800s. November, More than 1 000 members of the South African Communist Party (SACP) march to the offices of AgriSA in Pretoria to call for an accelerated land reform process and an end to the exploitation of farm workers. 2005 27-31 July, The National Land Summit is held in Johannesburg with delegates of both government and civil society groups attending. Delegates agree that the willing-buyer/willing-seller policy needs to be reviewed and expropriation should be considered. June, The Constitutional Court delivers a landmark judgment ruling against August Altenroxel, a farmer whose portion of land was claimed by the Popela community and 11 individuals of the Maake clan. Altenroxel had challenged the land reform process claiming that he had never heard of any laws dispossessing people of their land. The Land Claims Court (LCC) and the Supreme Court agreed with his argument throwing the land reform process into a predicament. The Constitutional court ruled otherwise. 30 June, A total of 62 127 claims are settled, transferring a total of 916 470 hectares of land for the benefit of 900 000 people. 2006 February, President Thabo Mbeki announces greater involvement in the land reform process during his state of the nation address. March, The Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs in her Budget Vote encourages the need to focus “on the state as a lead driver in land redistribution rather than the current beneficiary-driven redistribution”. 2007 6 June, The Constitutional Court overturns decisions of the Land Claims Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal in a case lodged by the Popela community, who wanted compensation for the loss of their land. The court “”¦found that although the Popela community had been dispossessed of many of their land rights before 1913, the loss of the land rights they held through the labour tenancy system was the result of a grid of integrated repressive laws that were aimed at furthering the government’s policy of racial discrimination”. August, A panel of experts presents its report to the Minister on the issue of foreign land ownership in South Africa. Recommendations include the compulsory disclosure of nationality, race and gender and other information in all registrations of land title. A ban on foreign ownership of land in classified or protected areas for reasons of “national interest, environmental considerations, areas of historical and cultural significance, and national security” is also proposed. October, The Land and Agrarian Reform Project (LARP) is launched as a joint initiative of various national and provincial government departments, including the municipalities, to facilitate land redistribution and promote agricultural production. October, The Land Claims Court accepts a settlement between the Richtersveld Community and the state which will give back to the community a land area of 194 000 hectares, a coastal strip of diamond bearing land measuring 84 000 hectares, and pay R 190 million to a community-based investment company, amongst other terms of settlement. November, The first case of land expropriation for restitution in South Africa is instituted when the Pniel farm in the Northern Cape is expropriated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa by the government. 2008 January, A second case of land expropriation is undertaken on a citrus fruit farm named Callais, in the Limpopo province. March, Due to the large number of outstanding rural claims, March 2008 had been set in 2005 as a deadline by President Thabo Mbeki for the processing of all claims. 2010 March, The Communal Land Right Act (CLARA) is passed by the government, is challenged by four communities occupying communal land in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West Province. They approach the Constitutional Court to have the Act declared unconstitutional, arguing that it undermines security of tenure for people living on communal land, and that it had been enacted in a procedurally incorrect way. May, CLARA is declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court. The court agreed with the communities that the Act was not enacted correctly as it replaced the indigenous law that regulates land occupation, use and administration in the different provinces. 2011 April, President Jacob Zuma visits District Six and announces that 2 670 former residents would be returned to the area by 2014. 5 May, Julius Malema, president of the ANC Youth League, pushes for the expropriation of land without compensation and the dropping of the “willing-buyer/willing-seller” policy. 21 August, The Department of RuralDevelopment and Land Reformtables the draft Green Paper on land reform. Among its proposals is a four-tier land tenure system which includes state and public land on leasehold, privately owned land on freehold with limitations on land owned by foreigners on freehold. 25 August, The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urges government to amend a property clause on the constitution to speed up land reform. 12 September, The Democratic Alliance (DA) responds to the draft Green Paper on land reform. 1 November, Hundreds of people invade land belonging to the Uniting Reformed Church just outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. The church subsequently applies for an eviction order. 6-8 May, The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform holds a National Restitution Workshop to discuss challenges in settling land claims. October, President Jacob Zuma proposes a five step plan for land reform which includes, amongst other things, the establishment of district land reform committees made up of various stakeholders includingcommercial farmers and those seeking land redress. November, The leader of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Letlapa Mphahlele, calls for the re-opening of the land claims process. 2012 15 February, Pieter Mulder leader of the Freedom Front Plus (FFP) responds to the State of the Nation address by claiming that African people had no historical claim to 40% of the country. 16 February, President Jacob Zuma responds to Pieter Mulder by warning him not stir emotions on the land issue, while Mmusi Maimane of the DA responds by deriding Mulder, urging that “wrongs of the past have to be put right”. 2013 11 February, Residents forcibly removed from District Six return to their area and go on a “Remembrance Walk” to highlight their plight owing to the slow process of restitution. 15 February, The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) commends the government for its willingness to review the willing-buyer/willing-seller policy on land restitution. 14 February, President Jacob Zuma announces that the government is considering re-opening the process of lodging land claims for the benefit of those who did not lodge their claims by the 31 December 1998 deadline. This was also to accommodate claims lodged by descendants of the Khoi and San communities who were dispossessed before 1913, which was set as the cut-off year for land claims. Zuma also indicates that the government will reexamine the willing-buyer/willing-seller policy on land redistribution. 16 April, A two-day national Khoi-San dialogue attended by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, is held at Mitta Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley. 23 May, The Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill is published for public comment. The Bill seeks to align the land restitution programme with the government’s National Development Plan. 13 June, The National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) and Food and Allied Workers' Union (FAWU) launch a “Campaign for Agrarian Transformation and Land Distribution in South Africa” aimed at putting pressure on the government to accelerate the pace of land reform. *Please note that this is a work-in-progress and is on-going.

Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867

René Hayden is an independent scholar in Washington, D.C.
For more information about René Hayden, visit the Author Page.

Anthony E. Kaye is associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University.
For more information about Anthony E. Kaye, visit the Author Page.

Kate Masur is associate professor of history and African American studies at Northwestern University.
For more information about Kate Masur, visit the Author Page.

Steven F. Miller is coeditor of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland.
For more information about Steven F. Miller, visit the Author Page.

Susan E. O'Donovan is associate professor of history at the University of Memphis.
For more information about Susan E. O'Donovan, visit the Author Page.

Leslie S. Rowland is associate professor of history at the University of Maryland and director of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project.
For more information about Leslie S. Rowland, visit the Author Page.

Stephen A. West is associate professor of history at the Catholic University of America.
For more information about Stephen A. West, visit the Author Page.


“A stunning accomplishment. . . . These volumes ought to be required reading for every national political leader, as American race relations and so much subsequent American history resulted from the conflicts they document.”--Journal of American History

“Full of insights on the dynamics of land and labor in the critical first years following emancipation.”--Louisiana History

Land and Labour League - History

What the freed men and women wanted above all else was land on which they could support their own families. During and immediately after the war, many former slaves established subsistence farms on land that had been abandoned to the Union army. But President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat and a former slaveowner, restored this land to its former owners. The failure to redistribute land reduced many former slaves to economic dependency on the South's old planter class and new landowners.

During Reconstruction, former slaves--and many small white farmers--became trapped in a new system of economic exploitation known as sharecropping. Lacking capital and land of their own, former slaves were forced to work for large landowners. Initially, planters, with the support of the Freedmen's Bureau, sought to restore gang labor under the supervision of white overseers. But the freedmen, who wanted autonomy and independence, refused to sign contracts that required gang labor. Ultimately, sharecropping emerged as a sort of compromise.

Instead of cultivating land in gangs supervised by overseers, landowners divided plantations into 20 to 50 acre plots suitable for farming by a single family. In exchange for land, a cabin, and supplies, sharecrossers agreed to raise a cash crop (usually cotton) and to give half the crop to their landlord. The high interest rates landlords and sharecroppers charged for goods bought on credit (sometimes as high as 70 percent a year) transformed sharecropping into a system of economic dependency and poverty. The freedmen found that "freedom could make folks proud but it didn't make 'em rich."

Nevertheless, the sharecropping system did allow freedmen a degree of freedom and autonomy far greater than they experienced under slavery. As a symbol of their newly won independence, freedmen had teams of mules drag their former slave cabins away from the slave quarters into their own fields. Wives and daughters sharply reduced their labor in the fields and instead devoted more time to childcare and housework. For the first time, black families could divide their time between fieldwork and housework in accordance with their own family priorities.

Early 1920s

Save the Redwoods League poured millions into acquiring the magnificent stands lining the Redwood Highway. Meanwhile, with leadership from Save the Redwoods League, a broad coalition of groups and individuals united their collective powers into the campaign for legislation establishing a state park system.

The League’s first redwood memorial grove was dedicated in honor of Colonel Raynal C. Bolling on August 6, 1921, following a contribution from his brother-in-law (League Councilor John C. Phillips). Bolling was the first American officer of high rank to be killed in action during World War I. The grove includes redwood forest on the South Fork of the Eel River.

On June 31, California approved the Redwoods Preservation Bill – an emergency appropriation of $300,000 to acquire roadside redwoods near the South Fork of the Eel River in what became Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Richardson Grove was established when Save the Redwoods League encouraged the State of California to purchase land in southern Humboldt County from Henry Devoy.

The redwood lumber industry began to establish tree nurseries and organized reforestation programs.

National League of baseball is founded

On February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which comes to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), is formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held.

The first official game of baseball in the United States took place in June 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball club. In 1871, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players was established as the sport’s first “major league.” Five years later, in 1876, Chicago businessman William Hulbert formed the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs to replace the National Association, which he believed was mismanaged and corrupt. The National League had eight original members: the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Louisville Grays, Mutual of New York, Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Brown Stockings.

In 1901, the National League’s rival, the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, was founded. Starting in 1903, the best team from each league began competing against each other in the World Series. Various teams switched in and out of the National League over the years, but it remained an eight-team league for many decades until 1962, when the New York Mets and Houston Colt .45s (later renamed the Houston Astros) joined the league. In 1969, two more teams were added: the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). Also that year, the league was split into an East and West division of six teams each. The Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins became part of the National League in 1993, followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. In 1994, the league was reorganized to include a Central division, along with the East and West groups.

In 1997, Major League Baseball introduced inter-league play, in which each NL team played a series of regular-season games against AL teams of the same division. (In 2002, the rules were changed to allow AL/NL teams from non-corresponding divisions to compete against each other.) However, one major difference between the two leagues remains: the American League’s 1973 adoption of the designated hitter rule allowed teams to substitute another hitter for the pitcher, who generally hit poorly, in the lineup. As a result, teams in the American League typically score more runs than those in the National League, making, some fans argue, for a more exciting game.

International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization was created in 1919 by Part XIII of the Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I. It grew out of nineteenth-century labor and social movements which culminated in widespread demands for social justice and higher living standards for the world’s working people. In 1946, after the demise of the League of Nations, the ILO became the first specialized agency associated with the United Nations. The original membership of forty-five countries in 1919 has grown to 121 in 1971.

In structure, the ILO is unique among world organizations in that the representatives of the workers and of the employers have an equal voice with those of governments in formulating its policies. The annual International Labor Conference, the ILO’s supreme deliberative body, is composed of four representatives from each member country: two government delegates, one worker and one employer delegate, each of whom may speak and vote independently. Between conferences, the work of the ILO is guided by the Governing Body, comprising twenty-four government, twelve worker and twelve employer members, plus twelve deputy members from each of these three groups. The International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Organization’s secretariat, operational headquarters, research center, and publishing house. Its operations are staffed at headquarters and around the world by more than 3,000 people of some 100 nationalities. Activities are decentralized to regional, area, and branch offices in over forty countries.

The ILO has three major tasks, the first of which is the adoption of international labor standards, called Conventions and Recommendations, for implementation by member states. The Conventions and Recommendations contain guidelines on child labor, protection of women workers, hours of work, rest and holidays with pay, labor inspection, vocational guidance and training, social security protection, workers’ housing, occupational health and safety, conditions of work at sea, and protection of migrant workers.

They also cover questions of basic human rights, among them, freedom of association, collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labor, the elimination of discrimination in employment, and the promotion of full employment. By 1970, 134 Conventions and 142 Recommendations had been adopted by the ILO. Each of them is a stimulus, as well as a model, for national legislation and for practical application in member countries.

A second major task, which has steadily expanded for the past two decades, is that of technical cooperation to assist developing nations. More than half of ILO’s resources are devoted to technical cooperation programs, carried out in close association with the United Nations Development Program and often with other UN specialized agencies. These activities are concentrated in four major areas: development of human resources, through vocational training and management development employment planning and promotion the development of social institutions in such fields as labor administration, labor relations, cooperatives, and rural development conditions of work and life – for example, occupational safety and health, social security, remuneration, hours of work, welfare, etc.

Marking the beginning of its second half-century, the ILO has launched the World Employment Program, designed to help countries provide employment and training opportunities for their swelling populations. The World Employment Program will be the ILO’s main contribution to the United Nations Second Development Decade.

There are some 900 ILO experts of fifty-five different nationalities at work on more than 300 technical cooperation projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Third, standard-setting and technical cooperation are bolstered by an extensive research, training, education, and publications program. The ILO is a major source of publications and documentation on labor and social matters. It has established two specialized educational institutions: the International Institute for Labor Studies in Geneva, and the International Center for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Turin, Italy.

Since its inception the ILO has had six directors-general: Albert Thomas (1919-1932) of France Harold B. Butler (1932-1938) of the United Kingdom John G. Winant (1938-1941) of the United States Edward J. Phelan (1941-1948) of Ireland David A. Morse (1948-1970) of the United States Wilfred Jenks (I970- ) of the United Kingdom.

Selected Bibliography

“Fifty Years in the Service of Social Progress, 1919-1969”, ILO Panorama, 37 (July-August, 1969) 1-88.

The ILO in the Service of Social Progress: A Workers’ Education Manual, Geneva, ILO, 1969.

Jenks, Wilfred, Human Rights and International Labour Standards. London, Stevens, 1960.

Jenks, Wilfred, The International Protection of Trade Union Freedom. London, Stevens, 1957.

Johnston, G.A., The International Labour Organization: Its Work for Social and Economic Progress. London, Europa Publications, 1970.

Landy, Ernest A., The Effectiveness of International Supervision: Thirty Years of ILO Experience. London, Stevens, 1966.

Morse, David A., The Origin and Evolution of the ILO and Its Role in the World Community. Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1969.

Phelan, Edward J., Yes and Albert Thomas. London, Cresset Press, 1936.

The Story of Fifty Years. Geneva, ILO, 1969.

Valticos, Nicolas, “Fifty Years of Standard-Setting Activities by the ILO”, International Labour Review, 100 (September, 1969) 201-237.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1951-1970, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

This text was first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1969

To cite this section
MLA style: International Labour Organization – History. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Tue. 29 Jun 2021. <>

Learn more

Nobel Prizes 2020

Twelve laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2020, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.

Their work and discoveries range from the formation of black holes and genetic scissors to efforts to combat hunger and develop new auction formats.

Watch the video: ABC Weekend Special The Secret World of Og Part 1