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Economist Gerald Friedman, in a comparative study of the evolution of labour movements in the United States and France in the period from 1876 to 1914, illuminates not only the distinctive turns to syndicalism in France and craft unionism in the United States, but also the unique impact each form of unionization had on the shaping of the French and the US states. He analyzes an enormous amount of data - extending estimates of union membership back to 1884 for France and 1880 for the United States - to present a picture of the growth and outcome of both movements. The historic weakness of radical political movements in the United States has perplexed scholars of American labour for over a century. Friedman re-evaluates the problem of American "exceptionalism" through his examination of the labour movement, exploring the constraints placed on radicalism by employers and state officials. He shows that a one-sided approach focused exclusively on the role of the working class has rendered labour history static: historical change is something that also happens "to" workers when circumstances change "for" workers. Friedman's perspective attempts to bring new dynamism to labour history by incorporating the impact of other social actors and the conflicts between them.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801423253
ISBN-10: 0801423252
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 26mm)
Pages: 317
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 19-Feb-1999
Country of Publication: United States

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