In 1836, Moore performed one of his last speeches. It was a stunning defense of Workers, Unions, and the Free Labor System. His stunning oration was in reply to an insulting speech by Waddy Thompson, Jr. of South Carolina that called northern laborers "thieves who would raise wages through insurrection or by the equally terrible process of the ballot-box." Moore's speech contained stirring aggravation at the unjust moneyed aristocracy, Nicholas Biddle (second US Bank), and the lack of equality of the wage earning worker. During his most heated rhetoric he collapsed onto the podium.
Moore headed and established the General Trades Union of New York. The GTU was the first Union containing multiple trades. In 1834 Ely Moore became President of the National Trade Union. The NTU spanned from Boston to St. Louis. The NTU helped to establish the 10 hour work day in many states. New York had already established the 10 hour work day.
His first interest in national politics was to endorse Richard Mentor Johnson, on March 13, 1833, for Vice President, because he opposed the Sabbatarian Movement (contrary to the freedom of religion), and supported replacing imprisonment for debt with a bankruptcy law.
He was a Tammany Hall candidate for Congress in 1834 and 1836; in the latter year, he was also supported by the Locofocos, like Churchill C. Cambreleng, the other Tammany candidate to be successful. He was defeated in 1838: his district, which returned four Congressmen, went largely Whig, but President Martin Van Buren appointed him Collector of the Port of New York, and he supported Van Buren for re-election in 1840, although he lost to William Henry Harrison. Moore was one of the radical leaders to support the Dorr Rebellion in Rhode Island in 1842.
He was one of the radicals who criticized the early abolitionists in the interest of labor, seeing a Whig plot to introduce the Negro as cheap competition in the labor market, and keep wages low.
Moore was appointed by President James K. Polk United States marshal for the southern district of New York in 1845. He became owner and editor of the Warren Journal of his hometown, Belvidere, New Jersey. He was appointed agent for the Miami and other tribes of Indians in Kansas in 1853. He was appointed register of the United States land office in Lecompton, Kansas, in 1855 and served until 1860. He died in Lecompton, Douglas County, Kansas, on January 27, 1860 at the age of 61 and is interred on his farm near Lecompton.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.
- United States Congress. "Ely Moore (id: M000897)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- William Emmons. Authentic biography of Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky., pp.61ff.
- Sean Wilentz. The Rise of American Democracy. W.W. Norton. New York and London. 2005.
- Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Jackson, Little Brown, 1945.
- Joshua R. Greenberg. Advocating the Man: Masculinity, Organized Labor, and the Household in New York, 1800–1840, Columbia University Press. New York. 2009.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Churchill C. Cambreleng
Campbell P. White
John J. Morgan
Charles G. Ferris
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district
with Churchill C. Cambreleng (1835–39), Campbell P. White (1835), John McKeon (1835–37),
Gideon Lee (1835–37), Edward Curtis (1837–39), Ogden Hoffman (1837–39)
Moses H. Grinnell