George Pullman-JGood

George Pullman
By: Jordan Good
Early Life
• George Pullman was born in New York on March 3, 1831.
• George only completed school up until the fourth grade. After that
he worked at his uncle’s general store.
• His father was a carpenter who owned a business that moved
• It is remarkable that Pullman was able to reach such success with
such little education and a humble upbringing.
Early Business
• In 1848 Pullman began working in his father’s business which
involved moving buildings along the Erie Canal. He took over the
business when his father died in 1853.
• He met Benjamin Field who served on the NY Senate. This created
an important business relationship.
• During the recession of 1858 George moved to Chicago to work on
moving buildings.
• Because of bad experiences traveling by train Pullman created
solutions to long distance travel.
• Field secured the rights to run sleeping cars in the West.
• The two men worked on the sleeping car together in Chicago.
Big Business
• In 1865 Field and Pullman’s first sleeper called the Pioneer was put
into service.
• He became well known when the Pioneer was used for Abraham
Lincoln’s funeral.
• The Pullman Palace Car Company was founded in 1867 near
• Instead of selling his sleepers he rented them to railway companies.
• The company employed over 12,000 people.
• Pullman created his own town for his employees complete with a
sewer system and a church.
• Just like the sleeping car business the houses in the town were
leased and not sold.
Big Business
• When the depression hit in 1893 Pullman cut wages by an astounding
• Even though wages were cut he did not reduce the rent of the houses
in the Pullman town.
• This lead to poverty and discontent among the workers. The
employees went on strike on May 12, 1894. When Pullman refused to
negotiate, his cars were taken off the rails. When railways began to
shut down and the federal mail was not getting through on the rails,
the federal government stepped in.
• 34 people were killed in clashes between strikers and federal troops.
• When the strike ended, Pullman’s reputation was damaged by the
• George Pullman saw himself as a philanthropist because of all he did
for his employees such as the town he built them. In reality he kept
his workers in bondage to him.
• He was a skillful businessman but did not take care of his employees.
Political Cartoon
• This cartoon shows George Pullman crushing an employee
between low wages and high rent. The coins on the floor
represent the money that the employees did not get to keep
out of their salary and was put towards their rent. Pullman
is squeezing the life and money out of his employees.
Pullman is seen as a heavy-set man to represent his great
wealth and power. On top of this press are the words;
capitalism, plutocracy, monopoly, and wage slavery. This is
from the point of view of either an unhappy employee or
just a citizen who was against the monopolistic ways of
Works Cited
“The Condition of the Laboring Man at Pullman.” Pullman Strike. Web. 3 February
2012. <>
“George Pullman (1831-1897).” Chicago: City of the Century. Web. 3 February 2012.
Watson, J.F. “George Mortimer Pullman.” Biography Reference Center. Web. 3
February 2012. <

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