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Pure and Simple Politics
The American Federation of Labor and Political Activism, 1881–1917

$45.99 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521028806

$ 45.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This study explores the political evolution of the U.S. labor movement, focusing on its dominant organization, the American Federation of Labor, during a key period (1881 to 1917) of transformation in U.S. political history. Julie Greene documents the AFL's entrance into electoral politics and the emergence of the important alliance between the AFL and the Democratic party, explaining the causes and impact of these developments.

    • A most comprehensive overview of the evolution of US labor politics from 1881 to 1917
    • Changes our understanding of the American labor movement and the AFL
    • Sheds light on relations between newly powerful interest groups, major political parties, and the expanding state
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Pure and Simple Politics is quite simply the definitive study of AFL politics in the Gompers era. Greene's subtle and compelling narrative portrays a labor politics never completely shorn of its anti-party roots, a beleaguered federation forced to disguise its partisan political influence, and an official political ideology that remains persistently anti-statist, even as its constituency and its adopted Democratic party embrace the progressive state. This work signals new and serious attention by historians to the national political presence of organized labor in the Progressive era." Shelton Stromquist, University of Iowa

    "Julie Greene's wonderfully textured portrait of Progressive era politics transforms our understanding of the 'labor question' during the years when that issue stood near the center of American party politics. By skillfully deconstructing the AFL's 'pure and simple' electoral strategy, Greene uncovers a world of hidden strife, unexpected complexity, and lasting consequences. This is a book that every student of American political culture needs to read." Nelson Lichtenstein, University of Virginia

    "...readers will find this study valuable as a background for understanding the great CIO drives of the 1930's." Brian O'Donnell, S.J., Michigan Historical Review

    "...makes a notable contribution to the collective project of understanding America's peculiar labor politics." Gerald Friedman, The Journal of American History

    "Pure and Simple Politics defies recent historical research that look for a single cause for the AFL's political strategies. Greene's depth of research enables her to incorporate a multitude of the factors, both internal and external, that shaped labor's inability to exert the sort of influence that many scholars would have preferred. Anyone interested in obtaining a more complete picture of labor's participation in Progressive Era politics would do well to begin here." Labor Studies Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521028806
    • length: 312 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.446kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Rise of Pure and Simple Politics:
    1. Building the federation
    2. The revolt against party slavery
    3. Labor's new century
    Part II. The Strike at the Ballot Box:
    4. A popular uprising of honest men
    5. Delivering the labor vote
    6. Party politics and workers' discontent
    Part III. The Retreat from Popular Politics:
    7. Quiet campaigns
    8. The making of labor's democracy

  • Author

    Julie Greene, University of Colorado, Boulder

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