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The Purpose and History of the US Labor Day Holiday

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in line with the plans of the Central Labor Union. 

The Central Labor Union then urged other unions and trade organizations to hold a similar workingmens' holiday on the same date. By 1885, industrial centers nationwide observed Labor Day.

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The Purpose and History of the US Labor Day Holiday

The Purpose and History of the US Labor Day Holiday

https://www.thoughtco.com/labor-day-purpose-and-history-4052473

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Key Ideas

Labor Day

Labor Day is a public holiday observed in the United States on the first Monday in September.

Labor Day celebrates the contribution of the American system of organized labor and workers to the prosperity and economic strength of the nation.

Inventing Labor Day

Labor Day was first observed in 1882, but there is still disagreement who should take credit for its invention.

Some think it is Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others believe it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist who later was elected secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson.

Government Recognition

Labor Day gained popularity very quickly and by 1885, several city governments have called for local observances.

Oregon was the first state to adopt a Labor Day law on February 2, 1887. Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York followed in the same year. By 1894, 23 other states joined.

On June 28, 1894, the act was passed to make the first Monday in September a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.

Labor Day Celebrations Changed

The character of Labor Day celebrations has changed as the huge displays and gatherings have become a problem for public safety.

Today, television, the internet, and social media ensure that Labor Day addresses are delivered directly into the homes of Americans nationwide.

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