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Andrew Carr Cameron

Editor, Publisher, Labor Leader, Advocate of Political Action

Andrew Carr Cameron was one of America's most influential labor leaders in the 19th century. As editor of the Workingman's Advocate and as opinion maker, he was considered the greatest labor leader of his time. ■ Cameron was born in Berwick-on-Tweed on September 28, 1835, a time of great social unrest in Scotland. His father was a a printer who decided to emigrate to Chicago when Andrew was 17. ■ His education was limited to elementary school, but he was unusually adept at articulating his beliefs. He became a printer and was soon a leader in the Chicago Typographical Union. He left the Chicago Times to become editor of the Workingman's Advocate, the official organ of the Chicago Trades Assembly. ■ His editorial opinion extended his influence across the country among labor leaders and rank and file. When labor leaders extolled the strike as a labor weapon, Cameron advocated that it be used sparingly. He called instead for political action at the ballot box. His editorials also advocated the eight-hour day. ■ Cameron never gave up his basic political strategy for labor, which was to exhaust mediation and political leverage before resorting to the strike. He pointed out that both sides lose when men walk out. However, labor rejected Cameron's ideas, and he turned to editing and publishing technical journals until his death in Chicago on May 28, 1892. ■ Nearly a century later, the philosophy of political leverage for labor, advanced and advocated by Andrew Carr Cameron had been accepted by most responsible American labor leaders. Cameron's editorial opinion has had a profound effect on the American labor movement. He was president of the Illinois St. Andrew Society, 1889-90.

Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois Saint Andrew Society
Scottish-American History Club
2800 Des Plaines Avenue
North Riverside, IL 60546