Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major


Thesis Advisor

Cynthia Taylor, PhD


The Flame that Sparked Outrage

The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, a tragic event in New York City, reflected the ignored demands by both foreign born and U.S born citizens. The unrelenting rioting and protesting marked a turning point in progressive American politics. The late 19th and early 20th century was a glorious time for new beginnings in America. The buzz about the opportunities in the States roamed the globe and sparked interest in every person encountered. The ships carrying Eastern European immigrants; Italians, Jews, and those of Polish descent, were migrating across seas to enter into the modern world of the United States. Contrary to the welcoming propaganda that is featured in their home countries, the opinions of some American born residents were less than enthusiastic about the incoming foreigners. The jobs that are available to the immigrants were meek at best, with intensive and frequent hazardous conditions for the men and women. This paper will uncover the array of problems factory owners caused their immigrant workers, in addition to the continuous strikes from the garment workers and a select few of the affluent class. Finally, the paper will close with the highly suspicious motives that came from both Triangle Factory owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. These theories include whether Blanck and Harris had a coincidental wrap sheet of unknown insurance collections, or the reasoning behind these unsafe working conditions, that led to multiple catastrophes, are part of a bigger sceam.