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A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society

"A Living Wage", the rallying cry of activists, has a revealing history, here documented by Lawrence B. Glickman. The labor movement's response to wages shows how American workers negotiated the transition from artisan to consumer, opening up new political possibilities for organized workers and creating contradictions that continue to haunt the labor movement today. Nineteenth-century workers hoped to become self-employed artisans, rather than permanent "wage slaves". After the Civil War, however, unions redefined working ...

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