Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Assignment

The story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is multidimensional. The tragedy, which caused the death of 146 garment workers, highlighted many of the issues that defined urban life in turn-of-the-century America. These topics include, but are not limited to labor unions, immigration, industrialization, and factory girls working in sweatshop conditions in Manhattan’s garment district. March 25, 1911 became a benchmark moment in the Progressive Era that ultimately resulted in drastic changes in labor standards for factories across New York City, and later the nation. However, with the horrifying death toll, mostly young immigrant women, it is a story that highlights early 20th century labor activism, the power of big business, and the emerging voice of women, still silenced at the voting booths. Through this tragic event, we can learn about not only the women who died but the movement that they provoked and the conditions of labor that they forever changed. For this assignment you will be looking at a short video about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire as well as an article about effective change after this event.


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Watch the video:

Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist fire:


  1. Why did this particular event, quite a ways into the Progressive movement, create such a national impact leading to wider change?
  2. On the eve of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, what were the conditions of the sweatshops of Manhattan in 1911 and how were individuals seeking change? To what extent had change been achieved in terms of workplace safety by Progressivism before the fire? (cite examples).
  3. Why is reform necessary for democracy? Cite evidence from the sources, chapter reading or your knowledge of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Sufficient = 300 words, substantive and addresses the prompt


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