Happy Labor Day History, Unknown Facts & Activities

Happy Labor Day History is something that every American can appreciate. The United States of America has been celebrating happy Labor Day in one form or another since the first day in 1787. On that day, American workers went on strike to celebrate the end of an arduous week of manual labor and wage slavery. Since that time, millions have gathered at the beaches of America to enjoy the sultry sun and great water sports. If you are looking for great happy labor day quotes, happy labor day history, or happy labor day weekend planning ideas, there are a number of resources you can utilize.

Happy Labor Day History

Who first proposed the holiday for workers? It’s not entirely clear, but two workers can make a solid claim to the Founder of Labor Day title.

Some records show that in 1882, Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, suggested setting aside a day for a “general holiday for the laboring classes” to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that machinist Matthew Maguire, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.

Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.

According to the New Jersey Historical Society, after President Cleveland signed the law creating a national Labor Day, the Paterson Morning Call published an opinion piece stating that “the souvenir pen should go to Alderman Matthew Maguire of this city, who is the undisputed author of Labor Day as a holiday.” Both Maguire and McGuire attended the country’s first Labor Day parade in New York City that year.

Who Created Labor Day?

In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories. On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed it into law. More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

Happy Labor Day History
Happy Labor Day History

By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day with parades, picnics and parties – festivities very similar to those outlined by the first proposal for a holiday, which suggested that the day should be observed with – a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.

Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

American labor has raised the nation’s standard of living and contributed to the greatest production the world has ever known and the labor movement has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

Many people choose to bring their family and friends along for the occasion. They may invite close relatives such as aunts, uncles, and grandparents. If you want to up the ante and add some excitement, why not invite some friends from out of town. You could have a miniature golf tournament with a prize fund and give out funny gift cards for all the participants. This is a great way to share the history of Labor Day with others while enjoying a day of fun in the sun. Be sure to keep the prizes fairly modest, otherwise those who don’t come prepared will feel left out and will most likely leave without a souvenir.

If you aren’t interested in bringing anyone but close relatives and friends, there is no reason that you can’t host your own Happy Labor Day party. Consider hosting a Happy Hour event where you serve cocktail specials and food for just a small fee. The proceeds from the food and drink will go towards the favorite charities of the guest of honor. For example, if you choose to host a fundraiser for a favorite school, that would be the subject of the happy hour menu. There are countless other charities and causes you can support, so why not pick one today?

If you are looking for a good time to tell your Labor Day history, why not plan an outdoor picnic? Picnics are known to be especially enjoyable on Labor Day because there is plenty of space to spread out and relax. If you and your guests are looking for an exciting and raucous time, consider an evening of football or volleyball. If you want to make an outdoor gathering more interesting, why not add some fireworks? There are many local groups that will show off their latest stunts in a fireworks display.

If you are looking for an even more unique happy hour, consider the history of flip flops. Flip flops were originally manufactured for the beach, but they have found their way into the lives of many a fashionable person as well. These sandals quickly gained popularity and have continued to stay ahead of the trends in footwear for years. Flip flops were a huge part of the fashion world for several years, but they never really disappeared until recently. If you don’t believe this is the era for flip flops, you may want to look around in your local area and see just how many people wear them.

There are many other happy labor day history facts to learn about. As you research, make sure you note any different occasions that come up with a similar theme. The events that shaped the United States may be more fascinating than the latest gossip going on in Hollywood. Whether you are interested in tracing the path of American independence or discovering more about early railroad travel, there is a happy labor day history for you to learn.


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