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Full-Text Articles in History

Technology, Economic Growth, And The State: American Political Culture And Economy, 1870-2000, Nick Salvatore Jan 2016

Technology, Economic Growth, And The State: American Political Culture And Economy, 1870-2000, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

In the essay that follows, I will examine three periods in American economic life, with a focus on the interplay of technological innovations, economic transformation, and the responses to them. The first period, focused on the decades between 1870 and1920, experienced the emergence of the corporation as the major form of production and, not surprisingly, the development of oppositional political movements to it. The second period, from 1933 to the 1960s, marked an era of reform efforts to balance the relationship between management and labor, efforts that, ironically, accepted as their premise the structure and rationale of the corporation itself ...


Introduction To Eugene V. Debs: Citizen And Socialist, Nick Salvatore Mar 2013

Introduction To Eugene V. Debs: Citizen And Socialist, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This is a social biography of Eugene Victor Debs. It is a traditional biography in that it emphasizes this one individual's personal and public life as far as the evidence allows. But the book is also a piece of social history that assumes individuals do not stand outside the culture and society they grew in and from. I have stressed each aspect of Debs's story in order to present both the importance of the man and a more complete picture of the political and cultural struggles his society engaged in during his lifetime. Neither in his time ...


Introduction To The Pullman Strike And The Crisis Of The 1890’S, Richard Schneirov, Shelton Stromquist, Nick Salvatore Mar 2013

Introduction To The Pullman Strike And The Crisis Of The 1890’S, Richard Schneirov, Shelton Stromquist, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

The strike of Pullman carshop employees and the subsequent boycott that disrupted rail traffic throughout the territory west of Chicago in June-July 1894 marked the culmination of nearly two decades of the most severe and sustained labor conflict in American history. Yet until very recently little new scholarship has focused on the meaning of the Pullman strike and its historical context. By offering a close reading of contemporary perceptions of the strike and by examining the organizational and political continuities and discontinuities the Pullman conflict reveals, these essays resituate the strike in its historical context. They demonstrate that Pullman played ...


The Decline Of Labor: A Grim Picture, A Few Proposals, Nick Salvatore Aug 2012

The Decline Of Labor: A Grim Picture, A Few Proposals, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The social context of this four-decade decline challenges a central assumption of the cyclical theory. More than a third of the decline occurred during the 1950s and 1960s, decades of broad economic growth and, for the 1960s, of liberal Democratic ascendancy. Labor lost another 15 percent during the stagflation of the 1970s, despite the Democratic return to power in the wake of a discredited Republican administration. By the 1980s, when a structurally weakened labor movement faced Ronald Reagan, plant closings and demands for concessions accelerated the decline. Organized labor's absolute and proportional decline over decades in which the ...


Workers, Racism And History: A Response, Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

Workers, Racism And History: A Response, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This intimate dependence of white egalitarianism upon black exclusion forms the central theme of Herbert Hill's essay. Arguing that this condition is neither episodic nor solely of historical interest, Hill asserts that these racist attitudes (and the action that flowed from them) were systemic across two centuries of working class development and actually provide the central continuous rational for understanding institutional trade union activity from the early nineteenth century into the present. America's labor unions. Hill writes, are "the institutional expression of white working class racism, and of policies and practices that resulted in unequal access, dependent ...


[Review Of The Book Values And Assumptions In American Labor Law], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book Values And Assumptions In American Labor Law], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Reading this book it is difficult not to think that the intent of the author was less to understand the origins and developments of the values and assumptions that gild the practice of labor law than it was to 'prove' that labor law in America is really capitalist law and thus it invalidates itself. This is not only circular reasoning, but it is unfortunate as well. For there is another book to be written that would analyze these questions through a serious and sustained reading in the history of industrial relations and then apply that knowledge to specific case ...


Teamster Democracy: A Moment Of Possibility, Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

Teamster Democracy: A Moment Of Possibility, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The association between the union and the underworld, a relationship that young Walter Lippmann simply could not envision, did not stem from an insidious criminal power that somehow proved impervious to FBI surveillance. Rather, criminal involvement in the trucking industry may actually be the most lasting contribution to modern America made by those who, in the name of fundamentalism, prohibition and creationism, fought that modernity so insistently. During prohibition, organized crime's interest in the trucking industry grew exponentially as urban criminal groups developed enormous fleets of trucks to transport illegal liquor. Following repeal in 1933, the industry remained ...


[Review Of The Book For Democracy, Workers, And God: Labor Song-Poems And Labor Protest, 1865-95], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book For Democracy, Workers, And God: Labor Song-Poems And Labor Protest, 1865-95], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] In this slim book, Clark D. Halker raises a series of complex and interrelated issues. Focusing on some 4,000 song-poems that appeared in the labour press in the late 19th century, Halker states that his purpose is to "expand knowledge of the musical and poetic history of the American working class;" to use these song-poems and their poets as "a lens into the larger world of Gilded-Age workers and labor protest;" and more specifically to examine the contours of a "movement culture" that, he acknowledges (14), was never coterminous with the whole of the working-class cultural experience. The ...


[Review Of The Book Icons Of Democracy: American Leaders As Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters And Democrats], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book Icons Of Democracy: American Leaders As Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters And Democrats], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Icons of Democracy is a welcome change from the rather arid, often quantified analyses of political leadership so prevalent in academic writing. Well read in both primary and secondary sources, Miroff has deeply grounded his ideas in the rich historical context. In addition, he carefully chose his subjects and drew from their experiences central themes which, in divergent fashion, they also held in common. The resulting collective biography engages and challenges the reader. While partial to leaders in the dissenting tradition (they are "our true subversives and at times our truest democrats"), Miroff consistently points to the complexity of ...


[Review Of The Book Perspectives On American Labor History: The Problems Of Synthesis], Nick Salvatore Jul 2012

[Review Of The Book Perspectives On American Labor History: The Problems Of Synthesis], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Over the past two decades many claims have been made for what was once called the "new" labor history. Deeply influenced by European scholarship (especially by the British historian, E. P. Thompson) and by writings in cultural anthropology and sociology, this new history seemed to sweep all before it. In a tumble of discrete community studies and precise examinations of individual strikes lay the foundation of the new history's critique of the work of John K Commons and his associates, who had stressed an institutional analysis of labor's growth and development within a liberal, democratic capitalist society ...


[Review Of The Book The Cio, 1935-1955], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book The Cio, 1935-1955], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Labor's upsurge in the 1930s remains for many even in our own time a source of inspiration and uplift. Those who are romantically inclined have long cherished the image of union militancy that attaches to that decade, a militancy that many have longed to see revived in recent years. Some contemporary union activists and their supporters, with more than a touch of a similar romanticism, frequently promote the claim that as the anti-union 1920s preceded the 1930s militancy, so too would the anti-union Reagan years give way to rekindled worker activism. Scholars as well have been influenced by ...


[Review Of The Book Meatpackers: An Oral History Of Black Packinghouse Workers And Their Struggle For Racial And Economic Equality], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book Meatpackers: An Oral History Of Black Packinghouse Workers And Their Struggle For Racial And Economic Equality], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] The Halpern and Horowitz volume, Meatpackers, follows creditably in this oral history tradition, even if it does not approach the power and complexity of Rosengarten's work. Instead of focusing on one individual, the book presents selections culled from a massive collection of oral interviews conducted by the authors with more than 125 former members of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA). The interviewees are black, white, and Hispanic, male and female, with records of activism in the union as far back as the 1930s and as recent as the 1980s. The events they recount occurred in five ...


[Review Of The Book Making A New Deal: Industrial Workers In Chicago, 1919-1939], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book Making A New Deal: Industrial Workers In Chicago, 1919-1939], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This is a superb book. Lizabeth Cohen has attempted nothing less than a major reinterpretation of how industrial workers became deeply involved with the union organizing drives of the 1930s. Rather than focusing on external stimuli such as governmental actions, Cohen explores in great detail the ways in which changes in working people's own attitudes allowed them to be participants in, indeed makers of, their New Deal. Her themes are critically important, broadly conceived, and explored with imagination and verve. Her extensive research matches her intellectual vision, and she sensitively uses such diverse sources as advertising agency memoranda ...


[Review Of The Book Frederick W. Taylor And The Rise Of Scientific Management], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book Frederick W. Taylor And The Rise Of Scientific Management], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Daniel Nelson has written an informative book that helps to explain important aspects of Taylor's life. But the analysis of the man, his influence, and the opposition both engendered is too narrowly cast to serve as a final rebuttal to Taylor's critics. By 1923, Nelson writes toward the end of his book, Taylor's reputation was secure and worker opposition to his approach was low: "The unionists had mellowed," Nelson comments. Yet the reader is never informed that this "mellowing" occurred in the midst of the most severe and pervasive anti-union campaign to that date in American ...


[Review Of The Book ”Big Bill” Haywood], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

[Review Of The Book ”Big Bill” Haywood], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] This brief biography of William D. "Big Bill" Haywood, the charismatic leader of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) between 1905 and 1918, is an engaging introduction to Haywood's life. Although the volume was not intended to supplant Peter Carlson's Roughneck: The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood (1983) or Melvyn Dubofsky's own impressive We Shall Be All: A History of the IWW (1969), this biography effectively sketches a number of the central juxtapositions that framed Haywood's life.


The Long Exception: Rethinking The Place Of The New Deal In American History, Jefferson Cowie, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

The Long Exception: Rethinking The Place Of The New Deal In American History, Jefferson Cowie, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

"The Long Exception" examines the period from Franklin Roosevelt to the end of the twentieth century and argues that the New Deal was more of an historical aberration—a byproduct of the massive crisis of the Great Depression—than the linear triumph of the welfare state. The depth of the Depression undoubtedly forced the realignment of American politics and class relations for decades, but, it is argued, there is more continuity in American politics between the periods before the New Deal order and those after its decline than there is between the postwar era and the rest of American history ...


American Labor History, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

American Labor History, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

To account for the persistent struggles of a working people that only episodically (and even then with hut a small minority) sought to transform democratic capitalism, and to do so without exaggerating the reality of employer or governmental opposition, will not produce an heroic synthesis of this country's history, to be sure. But it could abet an even more serious appreciation of the highly complex social and political lives Americas working men and women.


Biography And Social History: An Intimate Relationship, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Biography And Social History: An Intimate Relationship, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

Biography has been considered as outside the discipline of history by many historians. Since the chronological framework of the study is pre-deter-mined, given the subject's life, it has been argued, it does not meet the fundamental historical test of analyzing historical change across time. Others, particularly literary critics, have suggested that the biographical emphasis on the personal is itself, at root, invalid. This comment instead suggests that the recent turn to biography in labor and social history is most welcome, for it creates the possibility of a broader understanding of the interplay between an individual and social forces beyond ...


Response To Sean Wilentz, "Against Exceptionalism: Class Consciousness And The American Labor Movement, 1790-1920", Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Response To Sean Wilentz, "Against Exceptionalism: Class Consciousness And The American Labor Movement, 1790-1920", Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Wilentz's critique of the exceptionalist theme in American historiography is to the point. Whether one applauded the absence of feudalism, and therefore class conflict, in America with the historians of the 1950s or bemoaned that liberal democratic tradition as the "nail in the coffin of class consciousness" in the 1970s, either interpretative structure sacrifices empirical evidence for grand theory. In the former, the careers of Thomas Skidmore or Ira Stewart are all but incomprehensible; in the latter, men like Joseph R. Buchanan or Eugene V. Debs have little relevance. More importantly, the actual experience of the majority of ...


Introduction To Seventy Years Of Life And Labor: An Autobiography, Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Introduction To Seventy Years Of Life And Labor: An Autobiography, Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] Samuel Gompers remains a central figure in American history during the society's most intense capital development. The choices he made from the possibilities he perceived were of great importance at the time and still influence the organization he founded. Despite his many achievements, however, the larger aspects of the qualities of his leadership remained weak. In his search for acceptance, he jettisoned the vision of working class unity that had motivated him in the 1870s and 1880s. The K of L slogan, that "an injury to one is the concern of all," Gompers dismissed, a casualty of the ...


Faith, Politics, And American Culture [Review Of The Books Letter To A Christian Nation, Pity And Politics: The Right-Wing Assault On Religious Freedom, Faith And Politics: How The “Moral Values” Debate Divides America And How To Move Forward Together, The Compassionate Community: Ten Values To Unite America, Righteous: Dispatches From The Evangelical Youth Movement, And Believers: A Journey Into Evangelical America], Nick Salvatore Jun 2012

Faith, Politics, And American Culture [Review Of The Books Letter To A Christian Nation, Pity And Politics: The Right-Wing Assault On Religious Freedom, Faith And Politics: How The “Moral Values” Debate Divides America And How To Move Forward Together, The Compassionate Community: Ten Values To Unite America, Righteous: Dispatches From The Evangelical Youth Movement, And Believers: A Journey Into Evangelical America], Nick Salvatore

Nick Salvatore

[Excerpt] In January 2004, before a black church congregation in New Orleans, President George W. Bush commemorated Martin Luther King's birthday with a spirited promotion of his faith-based initiatives. Appropriating the slain Civil Rights leader's profession of faith, Bush proclaimed his ultimate purpose was to change "America one heart, one soul, one conscience at a time." He emphasized voluntary action by citizens (four times he extolled them as "the social entrepreneurs") and he consistency denigrated the role of government but for one critical function: providing "billions of dollars" to faith-based social-service groups. Proclaiming the values of the Christian ...