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This book, written in the late 19th century, came during the notorious Gilded Age in America, where many Americans were frustrated with the immense wealth that a few were able to make as a result of poor labor laws and conditions. As the preface puts it: “THE importance of those phases of American life with which the present work deals, is no longer likely to be called in question. The labor movement treats of the struggle of the masses for existence, and this phrase is acquiring new meaning in our own times. A marvellous war is now being waged in the heart of modern civilization. Millions are engaged in it. The welfare of humanity depends on its issue. I do not claim to have written a history of the labor movement in America. I offer this book merely as a sketch, which will, I trust, some day be followed by a work worthy of the title, “History of Labor in the New World.” In the meantime, I shall be abundantly satisfied if this more modest effort accomplishes two chief purposes which I have set before me as a goal. The one is to show that the material furnished to the historian by the movements of the laboring classes in America is interesting, instructive, and withal not devoid of the pathetic and picturesque. The other is to convince my readers of the vastness of our present opportunities. While America is young and our institutions and even our habits of thought are as yet plastic to an unusual degree, we have advantages which are not likely to recur in a near future. It is still in our power permanently to avoid many of the evils under which older countries suffer, if we will but take to heart the lessons of past experience, and seriously endeavor to profit by the mistakes of others; and surely this is wiser than to repeat their folly. The present crisis in our history is a time when either optimism or pessimism is easy; but both are dangerous. The potentialities for good or for evil are grand beyond precedent, and it rests with the living to say what the future shall be. There is enough that is alarming to excite us to vigorous action; there is enough that is promising to encourage our best efforts with the brightest hopes.”
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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1501056433