Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Nora Faires

Second Advisor

Kristin Szylvian

Third Advisor

Wilson Warren

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In a ruling which would stand for nearly half a century, the Michigan Supreme Court decided in 1898 that pickets and boycotts were inherently violent activities, and declaring them illegal, the Court sanctioned the injunction to restrict their use during a strike. This thesis traces the Court's rulings across these forty years, analyzing how these cases functioned, assessing their impact on union activity, and charting the role of the Michigan Supreme Court in legal procedure. Examining the Court's rulings in three different geographic, social, and cultural environments from the early 1900s to the 1930s, the thesis argues that the Michigan Supreme Court provided a precedent which gave employers across the state an accessible and facile tool to use against a striking union. The ruling, while handicapping labor unions, added to the dominance of employers over labor in a political environment already favorable to business. Labor, however, was not defeated by this employers' tool, and although the injunction severely handicapped a striking union, workers in several cases circumvented the restrictions of the order.

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