128 years later, the Homestead Strike of 1892 retains its capacity to shock. It was a defining event which revealed in the starkest terms the respective strength of labor and management in America in the 1890s. The crushing defeat of the workers meant that there would be no recognized trade unionism and collective bargaining in steel and other heavy industries until the 1930s.
On one side was the Carnegie Steel Corporation, capitalized at $25,000,000 and the world’s largest manufacturing firm at the time. It was also highly profitable, notwithstanding the violent fluctuations of the business cycle characteristic of the American economy in the late 19th century.