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  Introduction and Acknowlegements
  Progressive Era
  Early 20th Century Labor Relations
  Copper Country Place & Space
  Total Upheaval
  Long Memory
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The Progressive Era

“Ferris and I have exchanged several letters since I was at Big Rapids. He may decide to run for another term; I hope he does; he will get my support,”

C&H General Manager James MacNaughton
to Quincy Shaw, President of Calumet & Hecla

In the early 1900s, a period of reform movements known as the Progressive Era attempted to improve all aspects of American economic and social life. Progressives championed the curtailing of corporate power, enacting child labor laws and the general improvement of living and working conditions for America’s poor. Michigan Progressive Woodbridge N. Ferris campaigned and won the 1913 Governor’s race on such a platform. As a Progressive governor, Ferris advocated incremental reforms for society, but not revolutionary change. While advocating careful change, Ferris could remain a friend to capital, and men like Calumet and Hecla Mining Company General Manager James MacNaughton, while maintaining goodwill with organized labor.
Child Labor

Political cartoon published during the Progressive Era that ran in a local Finnish-language labor newspaper lampooning the use of child labor in factories.

Portrait of Woodbridge N. Ferris.
As Governor during the strike, Ferris attempted to find common ground between labor and management. This proved nearly impossible..
W.N. Ferris
P.H. O'Brien While most Copper Country law and order generally sided with mining companies, one notable exception was Progressive District Judge P.H. O'Brien.

"Big” Jim MacNaughton, General Manager of C&H, was a man of efficiency and scientific management, a hallmark of the Progressive Era that led to labor grievances due to safety and wage concerns.

"Big” Jim MacNaughton
mining engineers

During the Progressive Era, there was a move towards the professionalization of industrial work. This call for college educated mining engineers led to the creation of the Michigan Mining School, which later became Michigan Technological University.