Celebrated every year on the first Monday in September, Labor Day is known nowadays as the end of summer and the three-day weekend made for grill-outs. Some people may know that Labor Day was originally created to honor the contributions of workers, but many don’t know the in-depth history of Labor Day and its origins in the Industrial Revolution. In that era of our nation’s history, many people worked long hours in unregulated, hazardous conditions for very little pay.
Labor Day was first proposed during a time when many workers were going on strike for unfair wages and wanted to be recognized for their value and efforts. The idea was first proposed by one of two men, though people disagree on which one it truly was—either Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew McGuire of the Central Labor Union. Either way, the proposal was made and adopted in 1882, the year the very first Labor Day parade was held in New York City.
The holiday had difficulty working its way up to a national level. Originally, the idea of a “workingmens’ holiday” was honored in some state governments, but it wasn’t until 1892 that Congress solidified the history of Labor Day as a turning point in American history and uplifted it to the level of a national holiday.