Presidential Speeches

July 18, 1877: Message Regarding Railroad Strike

About this speech

Rutherford B. Hayes

July 18, 1877

President Hayes sends federal troops to protect mail and quell the riots that take place in numerous cities as part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.  Following pay cuts, the strike begins on the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) line at Camden Junction, Maryland; additional strikes will follow, lasting a month. Lacking organization, the strikes frequently degenerate into mob activity. The strike will lead to anti-Chinese attacks in San Francisco during the fall.

Presidential Speeches |

July 18, 1877: Message Regarding Railroad Strike


Blockade of engines Martinsburg,WV in 1877

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Whereas it is provided in the Constitution of the United States that the United States shall protect every State in this Union, on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature can not be convened), against domestic violence; and
Whereas the governor of the State of West Virginia has represented that domestic violence exists in said State at Martinsburg, and at various other points along the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in said State, which the authorities of said State are unable to suppress; and
Whereas the laws of the United States require that in all cases of insurrection in any State or of obstruction to the laws thereof, whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, he shall forthwith, by proclamation, command such insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within a limited time:
Now, therefore, I, Rutherford B. Hayes, President of the United States, do hereby admonish all good citizens of the United States and all persons within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States against aiding, countenancing, abetting, or taking part in such unlawful proceedings; and I do hereby warn all persons engaged in or connected with said domestic violence and obstruction of the laws to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes on or before 12 o'clock noon of the 19th day of July instant.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 18th day of July, A. D. 1877, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and second.
By the President:
F. W. SEWARD, Acting Secretary of State.