The years following the Civil War saw the rise of a nationwide network of independent local weekly labor papers that exchanged news, economic analysis, political ideas, and labor market information. Although its roots may be traced back to the 1820s, the rapid growth of this press in the 1880s was propelled by the working-class upheaval of that decade. It was composed of scores of weekly labor-oriented newspapers and formed a social network within America’s new wage-earning class. Among its most influential journalists were John Swinton and Joseph Buchanan, who helped shape the combative labor journalism of the Gilded Age.

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