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The State and Labor in Modern America Paperback – April 29, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

First-rate history, the best synthesis yet published of the public policy of labor relations in industrial America."Reviews in American History"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1St Edition edition (April 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807844365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807844366
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. O'Hara on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In a revisionist look at labor history in the 20th century, Melvyn Dubofsky counters the typical claim that government has played a repressive role in government-union-capital relationships. His argument, not accepted by many labor scholars, is that labor benefitted in the long-run through the states intervention -- atempting to diffuse the potential revolutionary zeal of the masses by appeasing them with small gains.
Dubofsky's methodology launches a liberal attack on Marxist thinkers and activists by challenging the view that government is a tool of capital to hold workers in check. His work points out that unions gained when the people organized and threatened militantcy. Government sought to appease labor through putting pressure on capital. However, when labor crossed the line actually becoming militant and acting out against the states authority, government sided with capital -- an action more in line with providing the economic stability everyone needs.
Labor history in a raw sense is both shocking and appalling. His account of labor history is packed with detail, and historical accounts which sometimes get in the way of his thesis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book gives an overview of the involvement of the U.S. government in labor relations from roughly 1877 through the Reagan years. The amount of primary sources in the book is impressive. I could think of a few labor related historical events that the author does not mention in this book but overall the detail and analyses are impressive and useful.

He begins by describing federal government labor policy in the late 19th century. The U.S. was rapidly industrializing and economic competition was intense. The economy was in a continual state of booming and then falling into serious depression. Labor costs were the main target for businesses to slash in order to strengthen competitive position. When workers objected to wage cuts and bad conditions and organized to resist such measures, businesses usually had the backing of state and local authorities in crushing unionization and strikes. The courts were especially helpful to employers, granting injunctions against strikes on the ground that they interfered with interstate commerce. The courts made particular use of the Sherman Act of 1890 which was originally assumed to target corporate monopolies but judges used it against unions. Also, when federal troops were called out, they were placed under the control of state governments and used to crush unionization. One example Dubofsky gives is the use of federal troops by Idaho governor Frank Steunenberg in 1899 to arrest all union coal miners and release them only after they pledged not to return to the union. The federal troops also assisted state authorities in purging union sympathizers from local government posts.
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By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted some more personally. In relation to state labor.
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