Rethinking the American Labor Movement tells the story of the various groups and incidents that make up what we think of as the "labor movement." While the efforts of the American labor force towards greater wealth parity have been rife with contention, the struggle has embraced a broad vision of a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth and a desire for workers to have greater control over their own lives. In this succinct and authoritative volume, Elizabeth Faue reconsiders the varied strains of the labor movement, situating them within the context of rapidly transforming twentieth-century American society to show how these efforts have formed a political and social movement that has shaped the trajectory of American life. Rethinking the American Labor Movement is indispensable reading for scholars and students interested in American labor in the twentieth century and in the interplay between labor, wealth, and power.

chapter |14 pages


chapter |26 pages

Origins of Modern Trade Unionism

chapter |36 pages

Insurgent Labor, 1905–1922

chapter |36 pages

Rebuilding the Movement, 1922–1945

chapter |31 pages

Stability and Retreat, 1945–1960

Labor’s “Men of Power,” the Cold War, and the State

chapter |34 pages

Lost Opportunities, 1961–1981

Labor, New Social Movements, and Economic Change

chapter |10 pages


The Legacy of Labor in American Politics