Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Karen Miller

Subject Categories

Labor History | Social History | United States History


labor, Paterson, New Jersey, IWW, Marxism, silk


This thesis places the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike within a dialectical framework by historically surveying the constant motion of industry in Paterson, New Jersey. It follows the dialectical method by examining the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike not as a singular event but as one part of a continuous historical process. In the late 18th century, a group of investors introduced capitalism to Paterson and completely transformed the social relations of production from a mostly self-sufficient agrarian existence to a center of capitalist manufacturing. From that moment forward, production in Paterson was in a constant state of flux as mills, shops, and factories were built, abandoned, and reoccupied by new companies who often modified the buildings for different commodities. The 1913 Paterson Silk Strike is historically linked to the 1912 Lawrence Strike to reveal that although the Lawrence Strike was a success and the Paterson Strike a failure, both cities eventually suffered similar fates of manufacturing flight in the 20th century. Placing the 1913 Paterson Silk Strike within this dialectical framework reveals that the single strike was one demonstration of a long, continuous struggle between labor and capital in Paterson.