Home Original Podcast: Labor Day, Religion and American Prosperity
Podcast: Labor Day, Religion and American Prosperity

Podcast: Labor Day, Religion and American Prosperity


Podcast with Dr. Bjorn Mercer
Program Director, Communication, Philosophy, Religion, World Languages and the Arts, American Public University, and Robert King, Faculty Member, School of Arts and Humanities, American Public University

Around the time of the Industrial Revolution, working conditions and salaries were very poor for average workers. As a result, labor unions organized strikes and other disturbances to force employers to understand workers’ grievances.

Many people criticized the unsafe working conditions, the low pay and the exploitation of workers. One particularly noteworthy voice was Pope Leo XIII, whose papal encyclical (letter) Rerum Novarum to Catholic leaders addressed the condition of the working classes and social justice.

In this podcast, American Public University faculty members Robert King and Dr. Bjorn Mercer discuss Labor Day, religion, and American prosperity. Robert King goes over the 1891 Catholic papal encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII, the Pullman Railroad Strike of 1894, and how ethnic classifications were used to manipulate, control, divide, and ultimately exploit workers at Pullman.

About the Speakers

Dr. Bjorn Mercer is a Program Director at American Public University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Missouri State University, a master’s and doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. He writes about leadership, management and why the humanities and liberal arts are critical to career success. Dr. Mercer also writes children’s music.

Dr. Robert King is a faculty member at American Public University and teachers courses in philosophy and religious studies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in religion from Davidson College, master’s degrees in divinity and theology from Duke University, and an education specialist and doctor of education degrees from Walden University.