The State and Labor in Modern America / Edition 1

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In this important new book, Melvyn Dubofsky traces the relationship between the American labor movement and the federal government from the 1870s until the present. His is the only book to focus specifically on the 'labor question' as a lens through which to view more clearly the basic political, economic, and social forces that have divided citizens throughout the industrial era.

Many scholars contend that the state has acted to suppress trade union autonomy and democracy, as well as rank-and-file militancy, in the interest of social stability and conclude that the law has rendered unions the servants of capital and the state. In contrast, Dubofsky argues that the relationship between the state and labor is far more complex and that workers and their unions have gained from positive state intervention at particular junctures in American history. He focuses on six such periods when, in varying combinations, popular politics, administrative policy formation, and union influence on the legislative and executive branches operated to promote stability by furthering the interests of workers and their organizations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This expert historical essay should be read by all political scientists.

Political Science Quarterly

An excellent book with many powerful and well-substantiated points.

Industrial and Labor Relations Review

An expert guide to the half-century of political and legal turmoil that preceded Taft-Hartley.

American Historical Review

Dubofsky's analysis is bracing and should generate much debate.

Journal of American History

First-rate history, the best synthesis yet published of the public policy of labor relations in industrial America.

Reviews in American History

Library Journal
In this work, Dubofsky (history and sociology, SUNY at Binghamton) is trying to avoid many of the current paths of labor scholarship. Instead of investigating labor internally, he looks at the ways labor and capital have interacted with the various branches of government since Reconstruction. In studying the tangible labor policies of the state, he analyzes the influence of the different regions on one another, considering, for instance, the effect of congressional representatives from the South on New England's manufacturing workers. He also reveals that the use of troops against unions was often not court ordered but frequently decreed by the executive branch and supported by Congress. Dubofsky's footnotes and bibliography are, as usual, magnificent; when he ignores an event or aspect of a subject, the reader feels sure that he is aware of his actions. Recommended for all academic libraries.-Clay Williams, Bluefield State Coll. Lib., W. Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807844366
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/1994
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 0.72 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Melvyn Dubofsky, Distinguished Professor of History and Sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, is author of several books, including John L. Lewis: A Biography and We Shall Be All: A History of the IWW.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: State and Society in Modern United States History
Ch. 1 Laissez-Faire and the Origins of Federal Intervention, 1873-1900 1
Ch. 2 The Progressive Approach: From Theodore Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson, 1900-1916 37
Ch. 3 World War and the Positive State, 1917-1920 61
Ch. 4 Interregnum: The State as "Neutral," 1921-1932 83
Ch. 5 The New Deal Labor Revolution, Part 1, 1933-1936 107
Ch. 6 The New Deal Labor Revolution, Part 2, 1937-1941 137
Ch. 7 War and the Creation of a New Industrial State, 1940-1946 169
Ch. 8 An Almost Perfect Machine: Industrial Relations Policy in an Age of Affluence, 1947-1973 197
Conclusion 233
Notes 239
Cases Cited 275
Bibliography 279
Index 305
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