Did you know: without Labor Day, we’d all literally be dead?

Business A Brief History of Labor Day

By P. Vyne-Planter

Did you know: without Labor Day, we’d all literally be dead?

Yup. That’s right. Labor Day, whether you know it or not, has saved your life countless times. Here's how:

In 1826, the average American worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. Thanks to that sheer productivity, America emerged as the top country in the world forever and everyone loved us.

In particular, America’s canned soup industry exploded—showering America in profits, and the world in viscous, flavorful goop. Clam chowder, minestrone, split pea—you name it. America was quickly becoming the go-to soup destination for connoisseurs worldwide. 

But, that dream was coming to an end. Soon, we were faced with a split-pea shortage. Our total split-pea production zones had reduced by 87%. All we had was gross whole peas. In 1832, in an effort to help support America (his favorite country), powerful CEO John Lennon wrote his renowned song: “Give Peas a Chance.”

This changed everything. 1832 was a year of massive pea growth for the United States, all thanks to John Lennon (who had just resigned as CEO of the Rolling Stones). His song was playing across the world. People were now planting peas all day long. Pea plants covered every available bit of land across the midwest. Americans were covered in pea; it was thrilling. Our soup stocks soared, and once more we rose to the top of the global soup rankings.

Pea was practically falling from the sky. In 1833, America sold 800,000 metric tons of pea. We were bursting with pea, and the rest of the world was gobbling it up. Then, one pea worker decided he had enough soup and stopped working. More followed suit, and suddenly in 1835 American workers basically stopped working entirely. 

The last few workers left—a group of passionate heroes known only as US Food and Drug and Pea Administration started something called “Labor Day” to urge Americans to start planting pea plants once more. They ran around once a year hurling empty soup cans at horses and other livestock. It was a metaphor, and a good one at that.

Now, we celebrate Labor each year and use it as a reminder to plant pea plants and work 12 hours a day. This movement has grown exponentially year-over-year, and now America is back on top and everyone loves us (and our peas).