Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Finley M. Chu


In order to discuss the effect o unions, I feel we should first discuss the growth of unions; for at first they had very little power. Although there were unions of some sort or another existing in America since colonial days, it was late in the eighteenth century when they really began to have an influence. This influence began with the rise of the American Federation of Labor. "Led by Samuel Gompers and Adolph Strasser of the Cigarmaker's International Union, this group was composed primarily of representatives of the skilled trades.... These trades unionists felt that the mass movement of the Knights of Labor was doomed to defeat, that trade unionism could best succeed if confined to those who were able to organize themselves, in other words, skilled or strategically located groups; and that trade-unionism should confine itself to the immediate issues of improving workers' wages and working conditions rather than to work for a Socialist Utopia, or to get entangled with other political movements or 'uplift' campaigns.



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