Print shows a jousting tournament between an oversized knight riding horse-shaped armor labeled “Monopoly” over a locomotive, with a long plume labeled “Arrogance.”
He’s carrying a shield labeled “Corruption of the Legislature” and a lance labeled “Subsidized Press”
The knight threatens a barefoot man labeled “Labor” riding an emaciated horse labeled “Poverty”, and weakly clinging to a sledgehammer labeled “Strike”.
On the left is seating “Reserved for Capitalists” where Cyrus W. Field, William H. Vanderbilt, John Roach, Jay Gould, and Russell Sage are sitting.
On the right, behind the labor section, are telegraph lines flying monopoly banners that are labeled “Wall St., W.U.T. Co (Western Union Telegraph), and N.Y.C. RR”.”
During the Gilded Age, powerful capitalists, middle class managers, and industrial and agricultural labors confronted a new world of work and labor in the United States.
While a few benefited from the material gains of technological progress, many others found themselves trapped in cycles of poverty and hopelessness. Strikes, protests, and political warfare rocked American life as workers confronted the new industrial order.
With a surplus of cheap labor, management had the ability to replace striking workers with strikebreakers or scabs, who were unemployed persons desperate for jobs. Monopolists also held the political reigns of power at the local, state and national level.
The social and economic imbalance of the era was best summarized by Henry George who described the impact of capitalism and the resulting class divide in his book “Progress and Poverty” (1879)
The new forces [of progress] ... do not act upon the society from underneath ... but strike it at point intermediate between top and bottom. It was as though an immense wedge were being forced, not underneath society but through society. Those who are above the point of separation are elevated, but those who are below are crushed down.”
For another view of the class struggle of the era see:
Title: The tournament of today - a set-to between labor and monopoly / F. Graetz.
Artist: Graetz, F. (Friedrich), approximately 1840-approximately 1913, artist
Journal: Puck, v. 13, no. 334, (1883 August 1), centerfold.
Created / Published: N.Y. : Published by Keppler & Schwarzmann
Date: 1883 August 1.
Library of Congress: LC-DIG-ppmsca-28412
Thankfully, thing have changed in the USA.
The first image is Quixotic; I might deduct monopolists are taking windmills for giants