American Labor and American Democracy
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In American Labor and American Democracy, William English Walling drew on his close association with Samuel Gompers and other leaders of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to write the authoritative history of the labor movement in the first quarter of the twentieth century.Walling's position was that twentieth-century American democracy was not stagnant. It was a living, developing trend in society, with the AFL as its most progressive force. There could be no passive acceptance of American institutions as they stood: government in the twentieth century would need to develop into a medium for attaining social ideals and needs beyond individual realization. The aim of American labor was a pluralistic economic democracy in which government and industry would be guided by economic organizations representing not only labor, but every essential social group. Richard Schneirov, in his introduction to this new edition of a classic book, paints a rich and detailed picture of Walling's political and intellectual journey, and of his many contributions to the synthesis of democratic and socialist principles. American Labor and American Democracy is an important work that will help reevaluate our understanding of labor and working-class history, establish a new perspective on today's labor movement, and shed light on the relationship of labor to socialism, capitalism, democracy, and social movements; the nature of the large business corporation; and the relationship of special interest groups to democracy.William English Walling (1877-1936) was a social reform activist who helped found the National Women's Trade Union League in 1903 and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. He authored several influential works, including Socialism as it Is: A Survey of the World-Wide Revolutionary Movement, The Larger Aspects of Socialism, Progessivism and After, and The Socialists and the War. Richard Schneirov is professor of history at Indiana State University, and has also taught at The Ohio State University and the Institut f³r England und Amerikastudien at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. He is the author of Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-97, which was awarded the Urban History Association's prize for best urban history in North America for 1998 and co-edited The Pullman Strike and the Crisis of the 1890s.