Blog #4 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist fire was a horrific fire that occurred at a shirtwaist factory on March 2, 1911. The seamstress working there were chained in- presumably to ensure they were always working- and as a result where locked inside when the factory lit on fire. The fire claimed the lives of 145 women whom, according to the “Eyewitness” reading either succumbed to the fire or jumped from the building deciding a fall was better than flames. The fire is reflective of the progressive era due to it being a part of workers rights. Before the fire occurred the women had protested for an increase in wage and better working conditions, though while other protests succeeded theirs did not and they returned to work with the future of the fire waiting on them. The fire was not the first of industrial incidence and it will not be the last (even with today’s time in mind), but it occurred at the height of the reform efforts. While the trial proved futile in the attempt to charge the owners: Issac Harris and Issac Blanck, who were acquitted of the crime twice workers still sought justice.

After the fire, there was a shock, a disability, and wavering of faith in workers hearts, but that did not last long, they still demanded justice (which was hoped to be found through trial) and ensure that an event like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire would never happen again; be that through law or policy. Greenwlad’s reading showed that the Union and its workers kept trying and citing the incidence using it as a passionate drive to further their goals. The fire acted as a call for support and unity furthering¬†efforts everywhere. Especially since the trial put the women working at the factory in such horrible lighting. Through our discussion in class, we established that the defense attorney for the owners painted the women workers as dramatic and promiscuous; discrediting their statements and with a jury of all men who were to disagree? In my opinion, this fire also lept into women’s rights, are women not people who should be treated with respect, dignity and a right to live? This trial and fire questioned that and fit into the progressive era, with women’s rights, accordingly.

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