The nation’s leading trade unionist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Samuel Gompers was president of the American Federation of Labor from 1886 until he died in 1924. "If there is any truth at all in democracy, if democracy has any real justification," he said, "it is as thoroughly justified in our industrial life as it ever was in our political life."   

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Biographical Sketches of AFL Activists and Other Labor Figures

Visit our related websites:

What Did Labor Want? Organizing the Working Class, 1850-1924

 A Short History of Labor Day

Using Primary Documents in the Classroom: Creating a Right to Childhood  

Defending Labor's Rights: Working-Class Politics, 1850-1924

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