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From Harvard to the Ranks of Labor Powers Hapgood and the American Working Class cover
  • ISBN: 9780271018980
  • ISBN10: 0271018984

From Harvard to the Ranks of Labor Powers Hapgood and the American Working Class

by Robert Bussel

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/1999
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During the first half of this century, many young intellectuals and reformers sympathized with the aspirations of working people and supported the struggles of the labor movement. Powers Hapgood (1899-1949) was one of the most colorful and recognizable symbols of this phenomenon. A Harvard graduate and the scion of a famous Progressive Era family, Hapgood chose to devote his life to the working class. Robert Bussel's book is the first full-length biography of this prominent American Socialist, labor organizer, and social crusader.

Hapgood participated in some of the most stirring historical events of his time -- an epic coal miners' strike in Western Pennsylvania, an insurgent attempt to oust John L. Lewis as president of the UMWA, the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the victories of sit-down strikers in Akron, Ohio, and Flint, Michigan. Later in his career, he took unpopular stands on issues of racial justice, civil liberties, and union democracy that foreshadowed the fault lines along which the post-World War II labor movement would founder.

Hapgood's career illustrates important developments in the evolution of liberalism and radicalism, the industrial union movement, and the relationship between the middle and working classes in twentieth-century America. At a time when the American labor movement is attempting to recruit young people, forge a rapprochment with liberals, and reclaim its role as a voice for American workers, the appearance of a Hapgood biography is timely.

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