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American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919–1935$
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Jon R. Huibregtse

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034652

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034652.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
American Railroad Labor and the Genesis of the New Deal, 1919–1935

Jon R. Huibregtse

University Press of Florida

Organized railroad labor emerged from World War I both politically and financially stronger than it had been at any time in its history. Railway workers contributed mightily to the war effort and during that time they had obtained uniformity in work rules and conditions. The origins of New Deal labor policy were complex and the logical result of an evolutionary process that began late in the nineteenth century. The brotherhoods helped to shape New Deal policies, and further illustrated the grassroots nature of much of the New Deal. Railroaders were central figures in transforming pre-war Progressivism, with its notions of “individualism” and industrial disorder and inefficiency, into twentieth-century liberalism. This book offers a new perspective on the labor unions in the 1920s, the book describes how the railroad unions created a model for union activism that workers' organizations followed for the next two decades.

Keywords:   New Deal labor policy, World War I, brotherhoods, railway workers, labor unions

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