Labor History

Labor History
Paper instructions:
PROMPT: Confronted during the first half of the 20th century with recurrent public demands for the reform of labor-capital relations, American employers pursued a dual approach: adhering to their traditional opposition to sharing management of the workplace with worker organizations, while adjusting to the changed circumstances brought about by reforms designed to empower workers. Consequently, the nation’s leading businesses reacted to periods of reform by formulating strategies that were responsive to employer prerogatives as well as reform imperatives.

Assess the success of American businesses in formulating counter-reform strategies capable of serving employer interests as well as the public interest, by comparing
• the strategies formulated by employers during the 1920s in response to Progressive labor reforms; &
• the strategies formulated by employers during the 1940s & 1950s in response to New Deal labor reforms.

exam submission: due date – Monday, April 21
Printed exams can be submitted to me (363 Ives, faculty wing) or my administrative assistant, Rhonda Clouse (374 Ives). If you complete your exam after the Ives faculty wing closes (c. 5 – 6pm) on April 21, please email it to me as an attachment (in Word document format) by midnight (to verify its timely completion), followed by submission of the hard copy in class on Tuesday, April 22.

exam preparation and structure:

The process of preparing your essay involves a back-and-forth dialogue between the process of collecting evidence and the process of interpreting the evidence collected. Since the dialogue involves drawing conclusions as you collect possible evidence, and then using your conclusions to decide which pieces of evidence are most relevant, the more you engage in this back-and-forth interchange, the more insightful your conclusions and the more pertinent your evidence will be.

The presentation of your conclusions and evidence in your essay involves making the case for the conclusions you have drawn. Your conclusions provide the essay’s structural framework:
• stated as a thesis in the essay’s introduction, indicating the line of argument that you will pursue;
• giving shape to the analysis of evidence throughout the body of your essay, determining which pieces of evidence best enable you to make your case and defining the relations between these pieces of evidence (including the sequence of your arguments);
• restated as the essay’s conclusion, summarizing the most important points of the case you have made.


In preparing your essay, you are required to utilize at least two sources from the assigned readings on the course syllabus. You are also encouraged to draw upon ideas from lectures and discussion that are relevant to your thesis.

To cite your sources, use one of the formats illustrated below, following the citation guidelines provided by the Chicago Manual of Style.

1) citation of sources using footnotes (bottom of page) or endnotes (on separate page at end of text) to provide information about the source (a separate bibliography at the end of the essay is not required).
quotation: …“labor’s past is deeply and irrevocably implicated in whatever future it has.”1
footnote or endnote:
1 David Brody, Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 263.
Citation information is abbreviated in subsequent citations of the same author:
2 Brody, Workers in Industrial America, 264.

2) citation of sources using (a) parentheses in body of text for abbreviated information about source (author’s name and page number), followed by (b) list of “References” at the end of the essay which provides full information about source.
(a) quotation: “… labor’s past is deeply and irrevocably implicated in whatever future it has” (Brody, 263).
(b) under “References” or “Sources Used”:
David Brody, Workers in Industrial America: Essays on the Twentieth Century Struggle, 2nd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).


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