The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.


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The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was a very fast-spreading and deadly fire that occurred on March 25, 1911, at the Triangle Shirtwaist sweatshop in New York. Within 30 minutes, 146 mostly young, immigrant women died when they could not get out of the sweatshop because of locked doors and windows and inadequate fire escapes. This fire highlighted the plight of the overworked and underpaid garment industry workers and caused a public outcry against the abuses poor workers faced more generally from unscrupulous employers. The fire prompted the State of New York to implement a number of workplace safety regulations.

  1. Bookmark and Review: Cornell University’s online exhibit on the 1911 Triangle Factory Fire Familiarize yourself with the materials found at this exhibit. This online exhibit contains a range of historical documents and resources that detail this event.
  2. Choose one of the following sections to focus your attention on:
  1. Compose and post your initial response. An excellent initial response will be a complete paragraph of 250 to 500 words. Whether you are using course materials or outside sources, be sure to introduce your source and also include a reference citation in APA, MLA, or Chicago-style format. Here are some questions to consider:
    • Which section did you choose, and why?
    • What did you learn about the fire, its victims, and the aftermath?
    • Which primary sources did you look at? How did these help you to understand what happened?
    • Based on your understanding of the event, why did the fire start? What factors were responsible for this fire? Why was the fire such a significant historical event? Support your views with two or three details.
    • As a result of this fire, the New York State labor code was changed. Why do you think it took this tragedy to prompt the change to the labor code?
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