Preamble for the Knights of Labor Constitution (1878)
The alarming development and aggression of aggregated wealth, which, unless checked, will inevitably lead to the pauperization and hopeless degradation of the toiling masses, render it imperative, if we desire to enjoy the blessings of life, that a check should be placed upon its power and upon unjust accumulation, and a system adopted which will secure to the laborer the fruits of his toil: and as this much-desired object can only be accomplished by the thorough unification of labor, and the united efforts of those who obey the divine injunction that “In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread,” we have formed the Order of the Knights of Labor, with a view of securing the organization and direction, by co-operative effort, of the power of the industrial masses; and submit to the world the objects sought to be accomplished by our organization, calling upon all who believe in securing “the greatest good to the greatest number” to aid and assist us.
I. To bring within the folds of organization every department of productive industry, making knowledge a stand-point for action, and industrial, moral worth, not wealth, the true standard of individual and national greatness.”
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