Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   The Rise and Subsequent Decline of Labor Union Organization and Activity in American Society, with Historical Emphasis on the Southern Coalfields of Appalachia.
Author:   Bradley Ray Woods
College:   Liberal Arts
Degree Program:   Sociology, M.A.
Degree:   Master of Arts
Committee Director:   Dr. Richard Garnett
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   11/20/2003

Labor unions have fundamentally altered American society and forever changed the capitalist economic system and the very ideology of the American labor force. Using a secondary historical analysis the central argument that unions are most productive when exploitation is at is highest point is explored. In addition the background of coal mining and conditions within Appalachia are analyzed to further gain insight on class conflict and other theories proposed by Karl Marx. The “battles” within the coalfields of Appalachia are some of the bloodiest and most violent of all the labor struggles in the history of American society. The coalfield battles are used as a backdrop to underscore the oppressive and exploitative conditions that were faced by workers during early unionization attempts. In addition a synopsis of American society is both pre and post World War II is examined to illustrate the conditions that led to the decline of unionism within American society. 

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