Skip to main content

Adamson Act


ADAMSON ACT, enacted on 3 September 1916 at President Woodrow Wilson's behest in response to a pending strike by the major brotherhoods of railway workers. It established an eight-hour day for interstate railway workers and time and a half for overtime. The railroads challenged the law before the Supreme Court, claiming that it raised wages rather than regulated hours. In March 1917, impatient with the Court's inaction, the brotherhoods demanded immediate institution of the eight-hour day and scheduled a strike. Wilson again intervened, postponing the strike and then securing from the railroads a promise to grant the eight-hour day regardless of the Court's decision. One day after the settlement was announced, the Court upheld the law in Wilson v. New, 243 U.S. 332 (1917).


Kerr, K. Austin. American Railroad Politics, 1914–1920: Rates, Wages, and Efficiency. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.

Kolko, Gabriel. Railroads and Regulation. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1976.

Link, Arthur Stanley. Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910–1917. New York: Harper Collins, 1963.

James D.Magee/t. m.

See alsoLabor Legislation and Administration ; Railroad Brotherhoods ; Railroad Mediation Acts .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Adamson Act." Dictionary of American History. . 23 Mar. 2018 <>.

"Adamson Act." Dictionary of American History. . (March 23, 2018).

"Adamson Act." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved March 23, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.