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Workingmen's Association broadside
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Workingmen's Party was first formed in Philadelphia in 1828 and was the first political party in the United States that was pro labor. The 1820s were a time of transition from a predominantly agrarian society to an industrial one. With this came a growing gap between employers and employees, and the rich and the poor. The working class felt that laws such as imprisonment for debt [even minor debt], and compulsory service in the militia, as well as lack of free public education and universal male suffrage, affected them disproportionately. The Workingman's Party was an attempt to address these issues by political action. During the winter of 1830-1831, most of the counties of Massachusetts formed Workingmen's Associations of their own. Men from the towns in Franklin County, Massachusetts, met in November, 1830, to form their association. The party wanted the abolition of imprisonment of debtors, free public education, and restraints on public spending.
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