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Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire


The Santa Maria Fire and its Aftermath Real Change or Lost Opportunity? Marcelo Lima – FM Global EFSN - Fire Sprinkler International ppt download

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on “the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of the Asch Building,  at 23–29 Washington Place in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan” – these three floors housed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory (Source). This factory, like many others, was known for it’s poor conditions, long hours, and poor treatment of the young women who worked there making shirtwaists  (slightly different from what we know as shirtwaists today).

Though textbooks site the fire as the event that led to workplace safety as we know it today, this is not entirely true. In all actuality, the fire “brought attention to the events leading up to the fire” – such as the locked fire exits, flames and flammable objects in close proximity (one story talks about a heaters being brought in), too long hours, inadequate heating, etc (Source).


Girls as young as 15 “worked seven days a week from 7 am to 8 pm with a half-hour lunch break” (Source). They were paid from $7-12 a week. Some factories required them to bring their own needles, thread, irons, and even sewing machines. The factories were unsanitary, at best. The exits were locked because the management did not want the girls’ work days to be interrupted, even by using the restroom. [Below: The building in use by the Triangle Factory works & the building on fire.]

kimberlohman06 – U.S. Women's History

More about the Fire:

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was “the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city and one of the deadliest in U.S. history” (Source). It caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – “who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths” (Source). 

“The fire flared up at approximately 4:40 pm in a scrap bin under one of the cutter’s tables at the northeast corner of the eighth floor… . The Fire Marshal concluded that the likely cause of the fire was the disposal of an unextinguished match or cigarette butt in the scrap bin, which held two months’ worth of accumulated cuttings by the time of the fire. Beneath the table in the wooden bin were hundreds of pounds of scraps which were left over from the several thousand shirtwaists that had been cut at that table. The scraps piled up from the last time the bin was emptied, coupled with the hanging fabrics that surrounded it; the steel trim was the only thing that was not highly flammable. Although smoking was banned in the factory, cutters were known to sneak cigarettes, exhaling the smoke through their lapels to avoid detection. A  New York Times  article suggested that the fire may have been started by the engines running the  sewing machines.” (Source). 

A bookkeeper on the 8th floor was able to alert those on the 10th floor via telephone, but otherwise, there was no form of alarm. Additionally, the man who held the key to the locked exits had already escaped!

The building that housed Triangle was not actually up to code in that it did not have the required three sets of stairways, only two. Additionally, one of the two usable stairwells was locked, as were the fire escapes – although the stairwells were impassable with fire after just three minutes. However, some girls were able to escape via the single exterior fire escape – this, however, was “a flimsy and poorly anchored iron structure which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the heat and overload, spilling about 20 victims nearly 100 feet (30 m) to their deaths on the concrete pavement below” (Source). Other girls were able to escape by climbing to the roof before the Greene Street stairwell became impassable. Still more girls were rescued by elevator operators Joseph Zito and Gaspar Mortillalo, who travelled up to the 9th floor three times to rescue girls before the rails of Mortillalo’s elevator collapsed under the heat. Some girls attempted prying open the door and jumping down the empty shaft of Zito’s elevator, “trying to slide down the cables or to land on top of the car. The weight and impacts of these bodies warped the elevator car and made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt” (Source). 

The rest of the girls, however, were trapped. Even though firefighters did arrive on the scene quickly, their ladders were not nearly tall enough to reach the top floors – leaving the girls to jump to their deaths. Firefighters did try catching them, but the height was so great that they broke through the fabric of the life nets. “Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street” (Source).  In total, 146 garment workers died that day, most of whom were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged 16-23.

“Bodies of the victims were taken to Charities Pier (also called Misery Lane), located at 26th street and the East River, for identification by friends and relatives. Victims were interred in sixteen different cemeteries. Twenty-two victims of the fire were buried by the Hebrew Free Burial Association  in a special section at Mount Richmond Cemetery. In some instances, their tombstones refer to the fire. Six victims remained unidentified until Michael Hirsch, a historian, completed four years of researching newspaper articles and other sources for missing persons and was able to identify each of them by name. Those six victims were buried together in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn. Originally interred elsewhere on the grounds, their remains now lie beneath a monument to the tragedy, a large marble slab featuring a kneeling woman” (Source). 

A week after the fire, wealthy suffragists, Ann Morgan and Alva Belmont, hosted a meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House, demanding “action on fire safety” (Source). Days later, “more than 350,000 people participated in a funeral march for the Triangle Dead” (Source).

Thanks to pressure from the activists, three months later, the Factory Investigating Commission was created. The building is now designated a National Historic Landmark. [Below: The charred remains of the 10th floor.]



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The Sabbath Day seems like a good day for a parable.

Now, no one on the Right believes that Donald J. Trump is the “savior” of the world. What many do believe, though, is that he was hand-picked by God to serve this country and protect His people.

Donald J. Trump lived in the lap of luxury. He had everything he wanted or needed. And whatever he didn’t have, he could probably buy. He had a good job, he had a gorgeous wife, loving children, and adorable grandchildren. What about this luxurious lifestyle would he want to give up to have the worst job in history?

The job of President of the United States is the hardest, loneliest job in the world. President Eisenhower once explained that only the hardest problems make their way to the desk of the US President. Anything easier is solved further down the line.

And from day one, Donald J Trump (DJT to his most loyal supporters) was mocked and ridiculed. From that day he came down the elevator, newscasters and commentators around the global laughed at him. Declared that he couldn’t possibly be serious about running for president. Exclaimed that he’d never win.

But they greatly underestimated him, for Donald J Trump is not one to be hindered by the thoughts or words of others. And he always plays to win.

So, he set off on his journey around the country, visiting states long neglected by politicians. Speaking to crowds the size Americans hadn’t seen since Ronald Reagan, his predecessor. He spoke to Americans who had spent their lifetime feeling neglected by The Capitol. Flyover states, who had never benefited from Government Aide. He showed Americans in Flyover Country that they were loved. That they did have a voice. That they mattered. Their vote mattered. Their voice mattered. Their needs mattered. Maybe not to Washington D.C., but they did matter to him.

And that is why Donald J. Trump won on election night 2016. Because he reached out to people who needed to be reminded that they were loved and that they mattered. He spoke to their greatest needs – and, yes, even their wants. He wanted to touch their lives and make life easier for them.

But all along the way, he was taunted and scorned. He was called names. He was misrepresented. He was slandered. He was despised.

And when he won, the ridicule and hatred only grew in those who despised him. They upped their game of lying and sneering. They tried to impeach him. They probably even tried to take his life.

But his supporters never wavered. They ignored the lies and the hatred, even when it was directed at them, his supporters. Finally, for the first time in 30 years (for the first time in some of their lives), they had someone in the White House who cared about them. Who put them first. Who loved them.

He fought for them. Not just at home, but across the sea. He negotiated trade deals that would benefit the lives of every American. He created jobs. Brought jobs home from foreign countries. He made sure they were safe from both foreign and domestic threats. He fought for better schools. He fought for religious liberty. He fought for free speech and liberty for all.

In short, he loved them. He loved America and, more importantly, he loved the American people. That’s why he did it. To see their lives improved. To give them hope.

And, in return, his supporters loved him back. Unconditionally. They saw his flaws, but loved him anyways. Because he was willing to sacrifice; to give of himself for them.

They understood that he did it for them. Stepped down and gave up the life of luxury. He was willing to sacrifice for them. He was willing to be mocked and scorned and despised for them. He was even willing to be their human shield against the hatred of The Capitol. They understood that he did it and endured it because of his love for them.

But then the 2020 election rolled around. The people who hated him upped their game of lying and jeering even more. They did everything in their power to stop him. They tried to impeach him. They created rules that would trip him up and cause his supporters to hate him.

But even that couldn’t stop him. On election night, Donald J. Trump won in a landslide. But the American people knew something was wrong. States were called for his opponent while Trump was winning. Vote tallies switched. Then, the counting stopped all together. And, in the middle of the night, massive vote dumps that took away his lead in numerous states.

But he didn’t give up.

He continued to fight for the American people. He sought lawyers, but they, too, were mocked and ridiculed. No one would listen to them.

The American people tried to make their voices heard. But The Capitol insisted on taking it away. Finally, in a desperate move, The Capitol staged an event to silence them all for good. Blamed the violence on Trump’s supporters.

They’d stolen the election and removed him from office, sent him off into exile, cutting him off from his supporters for good.

But here’s the part of the story The Capitol can’t control. God’s not finished yet. He chose a flawed men. A flawed man who was willing to step down from a life of luxury and sacrifice everything. Helped him reach tens of millions of people. Put him in the White House.

Along the way, this man was mocked and ridiculed. He was lied about. He was slandered. He was hated. His life was threatened. His family’s lives were threatened. But he continued to put the lives of others first. He continued to fight and speak the truth. And he went down fighting.

Sound familiar?

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60 years ago today, President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave one of the most famous Farewell speeches in American history. Ike – like his predecessors Washington and Grant – won office because of his military status. He was one of the most beloved men in the world. And, although Ike was hated by Washington for not being a “politician” he was still loved by the American people after presiding over 8 peaceful and prosperous years.

On Tuesday, January 17th, at 8:30PM, Americans tuned in to watch their beloved Ike give his last speech as president. They willingly decided to forgo episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Red Skelton Show, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Today, Eisenhower’s speech is mostly remembered for his warning of the military-industrial-complex. Though those weren’t the words he wanted to use. Initially, his plan was to warn of the military-industrial-scientific-complex, but his scientific advisors warned against it. So, he changed it to the military-industrial-congressional-complex. Again, certain parties objected, so Ike was forced to settle for the military-industrial-complex, a term we still use (and warn against) today.

Eisenhower Farewell Address - The 'Military Industrial ...

Eisenhower’s Speech:

Recommended Book: Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission

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245 years ago today, Thomas Paine published his 47-page pamphlet, Common Sense, advocating the independence from Great Britain as not only achievable but inevitable. Descent had already been growing for some time, but Common Sense served to unite Patriots in the common cause of Independence. 

American History Study Guide (2013-14 Kogelschatz ...

Even George Washington praised it: “I find that Common Sense is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men. Few pamphlets have had so dramatic an effect on political events.” 

Common Sense is still considered one of the most important documents in American history.

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Today in History: May 8, 1945 – VE DAY

“General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly over all Europe. For this victory, we join in offering our thanks to the Providence which has guided and sustained us through the dark days of adversity. Our rejoicing is sobered and subdued by a supreme consciousness of the terrible price we have paid to rid the world of Hitler and his evil band. Let us not forget, my fellow Americans, the sorrow and the heartache which today abide in the homes of so many of our neighbors — neighbors whose most priceless possession has been rendered as a sacrifice to redeem our liberty.”

The war that had lasted for five years and eight months had finally drawn to a close and people celebrated in the streets. President Harry S. Truman announced the victory and appointed Sunday, May 13—Mother’s Day—as day of prayer and thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Churchill gave an impromptu speech on the balcony of the Ministry of Health, telling the crowds, ‘This is your victory!’ However, their day of victory was somewhat overshadowed by the fact that the war with Japan was still going strong.


Listen: Truman’s VE-Day Address

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An interesting speech delivered President Trump during his 4th of July ‘Salute to America’ celebration. His speech teaches us the importance of ‘peace through strength’ and teaches why we need a strong army through history itself. Watch as airplanes from wars past fly in formation overhead. He reminds us of Washington, Jimmy Doolittle, Alvin York, and many others.

And what better day to learn of America’s history, then on it’s birthday!

USA-eVote is independent and prefers to remain independent.

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The Year of Eisenhower


USA-eVote would like to declare that this year, 2019, be the Year of Eisenhower – much like last year was the (albeit, undeclared) Year of the Kennedys, in which we marked the 55th & 50th Anniversary of their assassinations. 

Why the year of Eisenhower?


Image result for dwight d eisenhower


Well, this year marks the 75h anniversary of D-Day, the greatest invasion in all of history. D-Day was the day that the war turned to the Allies’s favor. And it was a day that may not have been possible without the great work of General and Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower and his great team. More on that in posts throughout the year.

Also, as we are already hearing a great deal about trying to rid this country of all Judaeo-Christian beliefs. As certain presidential candidates try running on platforms that will wipe Christianity and Judaism out of this country, let us remember Eisenhower’s “Back to God” campaign. Let us remember the bills that he signed into existence, and the efforts he made to rededicate this country back to God in the 1950s.

And, lastly, this year, now, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower. We lost a great president, a great general, and a great man. To this very day, many Americans still vote Eisenhower as one of the greatest men who ever lived. I’d like to suggest that, maybe, his success was due to where he placed his faith, and who he gave credit to.

So this year, expect USA-eVote Reads passages, articles, trivia questions and more about Eisenhower. 

And, yes, there will still be USA-eVote Reads passages and trivia questions and articles about other men and other events. So don’t guess Eisenhower too fast in trivia questions!

Let us, together, learn why this man was so successful. And how he made this country great despite, like all human beings, many flaws.

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Today in History: January 11, 1961 – Kennedy Gives 2nd State of the Union Address

Thanks to holidays and whatnot, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted a Today in History post. Thus, since today happens to be the 57th anniversary and I’m listening to Kennedy’s 2nd State of the Union, that it’d be a good place to start.

In his 2nd State of the Union, Kennedy discussed the problem of machines taking over jobs and of the problem of the current recession. This was one of his major concerns, and he promised that he would work on strengthening the economy in response.

And of course, at the top of list was the Cold War. Kennedy discussed “diversity” – which, he noted, Communism does not allow. Along this same talk, there is noticeable foreshadowing to Kennedy’s forthcoming Peace topic, which would begin in earnest after the Cuban Missile Crisis, of the same year. But, then, in typical Kennedy fashion, he jumps onto a diverging topic. In this case, missiles. What followed was a long list of the missiles that had been doubled and tripled in number, all in the name of protecting America from foreign domination. And, because, Kennedy’s ‘Peace through Strength” mantra was still alive and strong. 

In the coming year, our reserve programs will be revised–two Army Divisions will, I hope, replace those Guard Divisions on duty–and substantial other increases will boost our Air Force fighter units, the procurement of equipment, and our continental defense and warning efforts. The Nation’s first serious civil defense shelter program is under way, identifying, marking, and stocking 50 million spaces; and I urge your approval of Federal incentives for the construction of public fall-out shelters in schools and hospitals and similar centers.

Following this, he discussed the importance of the Space Race. Not necessarily to be first, though he definitely did want to beat the Soviets. The importance, he reminded the nation, was to continue to search, to learn, and to strive. To sit back and let the Soviets win was very different than doing their best and still coming in second. (Although, a Kennedy never loses!)

President Kennedy also discussed the need for Congress to respond to certain domestic issues, including: pollution, education, mass transit, urban housing, civil rights, public health, and welfare assistance programs. He touched on the importance of military strength, of foreign relations, trade (low tariffs on both sides), and Berlin. And he, as always, urged the American people to act, not to leave it to the government alone.

Listen: Kennedy’s 1962 State of the Union Address

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Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Fourteen


But you didn’t see this post coming, did you? Because everyone knows that the crisis only lasted for thirteen days. After all, there is a book and a movie that tell us so.

But truthfully, the crisis didn’t end on Sunday, October 28, 1962. Nor did it end on Monday, October 29. In fact, the crisis was far from over. For one, negotiations still needed to be settled. Negotiations between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Between Khrushchev and Castro. And, well, more or less between Kennedy and Castro.

In fact, “low-level reconnaissance on October 29 appeared to detect continuing construction” (May 411). Truth was, Kennedy had nothing to go on other than Khrushchev’s word that construction on the missiles in Cuba would cease. Just like Khrushchev had nothing to go on but Kennedy’s word that once the Soviet missiles in Cuba were removed, the US missiles in Turkey would follow suit.

October 29th also saw Ambassador Dobrynin deliver a letter to Attorney General Kennedy. “The next day, Robert Kennedy called in Dobrynin and gave the letter back, refusing to accept it. Robert Kennedy’s handwritten notes for this meeting say: ‘No quid pro quo as I told you. The letter makes it appear that there was.’ The missiles would leave Turkey; ‘you have my word on that & this is sufficient . . .  ; if you should publish any document indicating a deal then it is off.’” Dobrynin promised nothing would be published. But, then again, as Kennedy reminded him, he’d also promised that the Soviet Union would never put missiles on Cuba. 

And look how that turned out. It’s also important to remember that these deals were made through, well, back channels. It’s also important to note that the Kennedys (but mostly the CIA) continued secret invasion plans. You just never knew with Castro, after all. Low-level reconnaissance over Cuba also continued.

And, as President Kennedy’s brother points out in Thirteen Days (published posthumously, by the way), there was still the problem of the Cold War. That was far from over. 

“Exasperation over our struggle in Vietnam,” he wrote at the closing of his penultimate chapter, where he reviewed the thoughts and emotions of the past thirteen days, “should not close our eyes to the fact that we could have other missile crisis in the future–different kinds, no doubt, and under different circumstances. But if we are to be successful then, if we are going to preserve our own national security, we will need friends, we will need supporters, we will need countries that believe and respect us and will follow our leadership” (94).



He did point out, however, that they’d all learned something from this horrifying experience. And that, too, could be taken into the next crisis.

Back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, though. Kennedy was finally able to announce that the issue had been resolved on November 20, 1962. Almost a month later. it had taken many more letters back and forth between him and Khrushchev. But it had been worked out. 

“The IL-28s would come out of Cuba within 30 days. Though there would be no UN inspection, US forces would be allowed to observe departing Soviet ships. Their cargos of departing missiles would be on deck and could be observed by passing US ships or aircraft. The United States would keep flying reconnaissance planes over Cuba. When the offensive weapons were gone, the quarantine would finally be lifted. The US forces would return to normal peacetime deployments and readiness levels. The Strategic Air Command would stand down its airborne alert” (May 412-413).

Works Cited:

Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 1971.

May, Ernest R, and Philip D Zelikow, editors. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Norton, 2002.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis: Day Thirteen


Sunday, October 28, 1962: The thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis came to an end. In the late hours of October 27, Robert Kennedy secretly met with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, and the two reached a basic understanding:

The Soviet Union would withdraw the missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba. In an additional secret understanding, the United States agreed to eventually remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey, provided that Castro agreed to their terms. Which he never did.

Listen: 11:05 am ExComm Meeting

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