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Relentless ReformerJosephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America$
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Robyn Muncy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691122731

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691122731.001.0001

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Seeking Fundamentals: The Colorado Coal Strike, 1913–1914

Seeking Fundamentals: The Colorado Coal Strike, 1913–1914

Chapter:
(p.64) Chapter 4 Seeking Fundamentals: The Colorado Coal Strike, 1913–1914
Source:
Relentless Reformer
Author(s):

Robyn Muncy

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691122731.003.0005

This chapter details events in Josephine Roche's life from 1913 to 1914. After a restorative break in the Rockies, Roche returned to Denver and faced hard decisions about what to pursue next. Her goal was to figure out what work was most “fundamental” to achieving social justice. Roche wanted to hit injustice where it would hurt most, but she was not yet sure where the tender spot lay. As she began probing for that spot in fall 1913, coal miners in Colorado provided guidance. They opened what turned out to be the country's “deadliest labor war,” a conflict that eventually confirmed what Roche's experience as Inspector of Amusements had begun to reveal: progressive public policies could not, by themselves, achieve justice. Some additional element was required to make good on them, and the strike told Roche that the element was an aroused and organized citizenry, especially in the form of independent labor unions. By 1914, Roche had layered onto her social science progressivism the commitments of a labor progressive, who believed the self-organization of workers as crucial to achieving social justice as progressive public policies.

Keywords:   Josephine Roche, social justice, Colorado, coal miners, labor war, biography, labor unions, progressivism

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