History 430: Theory and Practice

Document Type

Undergraduate Research

Publication Date

Fall 12-6-2012


Coal operators and the union leaders that attempted to resist them were in a constant struggle during the early 20th century. This iconic struggle between workers and company would come to illustrate the perfect example of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Trapped between these battling titans stood the United Mine Workers of America, and the fearless leader of Local District 14, Alexander Howat, ready to do battle with both of the giants if deemed necessary, all for the sake of gaining what little ground they could at the time. Despite the almost non-existent fiscal reward for their effort, the mine workers achieved great strides for the labor movement in the United States and subsequently the world. Although these miners suffered greatly during their epic struggle, they maintained faith and loyalty in Alexander Howat, whose influence and inspiration was essential to the success of the labor movement spearheaded by the United Mine Workers of America. Howat's leadership was the single most important factor leading up to the success of the labor movement in the United States, and his lasting inspiration and influence would carry on and support labor movements around the world.