Labor History of The United States

The labor history of the United States describes the history of organized labor, as well as more general history of working people, in the United States. Pressures dictating the nature and power of organized labor have included the evolution and power of the corporation, efforts by employers and private agencies to limit or control unions, and U.S. labor law. As a response, organized unions and labor federations have competed, evolved, merged, and split against a backdrop of changing social philosophies and periodic federal intervention. As commentator E. J. Dionne has noted, the union movement has traditionally espoused a set of values—solidarity being the most important, the sense that each should look out for the interests of all. From this followed commitments to mutual assistance, to a rough-and-ready sense of equality, to a disdain for elitism, and to a belief that democracy and individual rights did not stop at the plant gate or the office reception room. Dionne notes that these values are "increasingly foreign to American culture". "Labor-based political parties have been an important electoral force in every advanced capitalist country. Every one, that is, except the United States. Elsewhere, these parties were established in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, and, ever since then, there has been a great debate about why the American experience was different."

The history of organized labor has been a specialty of scholars since the 1890s, and has produced a large amount of scholarly literature focused on the structure of organized unions. In the 1960s, as social history gained popularity, a new emphasis emerged on the history of workers, including unorganized workers, and with special regard to gender and race. This is called "the new labor history". Much scholarship has attempted to bring the social history perspectives into the study of organized labor.

Read more about Labor History Of The United States:  Organized Labor 1900–1920, Weakness of Organized Labor 1920–1929, Labor History Since 1955, Rise of Public Sector Unions

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