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Strike Success and Union Ideology: The United States and France, 1880–1914

Gerald Friedman

The Journal of Economic History, 1988, vol. 48, issue 1, 1-25

Abstract: Scholars still disagree about why unions in different countries are radical or conservative. The differences between unions in France and America can be traced to the different requirements for success in strikes before 1914. In France radical unions could win large-scale strikes by involving state officials. In contrast, American unions, facing a more hostile government, avoided state intervention and learned to win strikes by providing financial support to small groups of critically positioned workers. The divergence between American and French union strategy reflected the greater success of American capitalists in winning state support against labor.

Date: 1988
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