Woodrow Wilson and the American labour movement

Theakston, Colin (1992). Woodrow Wilson and the American labour movement. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00010177


This thesis examines President Woodrow Wilson’s relationship with the American labour movement, both the politically moderate American Federation of Labour (AFL) and the more radical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
This thesis will attempt to show that contrary to received wisdom the administration of Woodrow Wilson was not in fact a golden age for the American labour movement. The thesis will demonstrate how the reforms granted during this period which aided labour were frequently passed over Wilson’s opposition or with nothing more than his passive support. It will also be shown that when Wilson cooperated with the AFL during the war, with places in the enlarged administration and with pressure on employers to make pro-labour concessions that it was only done for purely short-term reasons, to ensure labour cooperation - and that once the war had ended he withdrew that support.
This thesis will also show how the suppression of the IWW during the war was not solely the product of that emergency, but that the desire to do so actually preceded the beginning of the conflict.
These conclusions have been reached after studying President Wilson’s collected papers and the views of many of his contemporaries, and having read all the accepted leading secondary sources covering the period in question.

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