Stephens, Uriah Smith


Stephens, Uriah Smith

biographical name

(born , Aug. 3, 1821, Cape May, N.J., U.S.—died Feb. 13, 1882, Philadelphia, Pa.) U.S. labour leader. Apprenticed as a tailor, he became involved in reform movements such as abolitionism and utopian socialism, and in 1862 he helped organize the Garment Cutters' Association of Philadelphia. In 1869 he cofounded the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor, the first national labour union in the U.S., and became its first leader (or grand master workman). The high calling of the union and the hostility of union-busters led Stephens to favour secrecy and ritual in its meetings, which became increasingly controversial, as did Stephens's opposition to strikes. In 1878 he resigned his post.

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