United States and American History: 1905

About the history of the United States in 1905, the first black All-American football player, anti-Japanese sentiment grows, the Industrial Workers of the World Conventionn.


--The slum population in New York exceeded the population ratio in Bombay, reaching a density ratio of 1,000 persons an acre in some areas.

--The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision declared unconstitutional a New York law which provided that no bakery could employ anyone more than 60 hours per week or 10 hours per day. The court invalidated the New York law, ruling that it interfered with freedom of contract protected by the 14th Amendment.

--Bob Marshall, a black athlete from the University of Minnesota, was selected for the All-American Football team.

--The Japanese and Korean Exclusion League was organized on the West Coast, where there was growing anti-Japanese antagonism and a fear of Japan as a military power. The Hearst newspapers helped foment this feeling by labeling the Japanese "the yellow peril."

--Comedians Fatty Arbuckle and Harry Bulgar, and actor John Mason sang the praises of Murad cigarettes, the 1st entertainers to give cigarette testimonials in advertisements.


Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and women in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.

--Grover Cleveland in Ladies' Home Journal

June The "fastest long-distance train in the world," Pennsylvania Railroad's 18-hour train between New York and Chicago, was inaugurated on June 11. New York Central Railroad began its 18-hour service one week later with the "20th Century Limited." Within a week both trains had had wrecks, leaving 19 dead.

June 27 "One Big Union for All" was the goal of the 200 delegates composed of radical labor leaders and Socialists who gathered in Chicago in June, 1905, for the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (also known as IWW or the Wobblies). Representing the Western Federation of Miners were Charles Moyer and Big Bill Haywood ("Fellow workers, this is the Continental Congress of the working class. The aims and objects of this organization shall be to put the working class in possession of economic power ... without regard to the capitalist masters.") and Mother Jones, 75-year-old veteran of miners' strikes who organized the "women's armies" ("Pray for the dead, but fight like hell for the living."). (See also: Mother Jones in Footnote People in U.S. History, Chap. 3.) Eugene Debs, American Socialist party standard-bearer and Daniel DeLeon ("The Pope") of the Socialist Labor party were prominent Socialist leaders, along with Father Thomas Haggerty, Marxist ex-priest and editor of the Voice of Labor.

Repudiating the craft elitism of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), the IWW opened its membership to any wage earner regardless of occupation, race, creed, or sex. Initiation fees and dues were low. The IWW was united in its opposition to the AFL and capitalism, declaring that "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common." However, its members were divided on tactics. The Socialists called for political action ("every class struggle is a political struggle") while radicals called for direct action such as strikes and sabotage.

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