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The Triangle Fire, Protocols Of Peace And Industrial Democracy In Progressive by Richard Greenwald

The Triangle Fire, Protocols Of Peace And Industrial Democracy In Progressive

Part of the Labor In Crisis Series


The Triangle Fire, Protocols Of Peace And Industrial Democracy In Progressive by Richard Greenwald

America searched for an answer to \u0022The Labor Question\u0022 during the Progressive Era in an effort to avoid the unrest and violence that flared so often in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the ladies' garment industry, a unique experiment in industrial democracy brought together labor, management, and the public. As Richard Greenwald explains, it was an attempt to \u0022square free market capitalism with ideals of democracy to provide a fair and just workplace.\u0022 Led by Louis Brandeis, this group negotiated the \u0022Protocols of Peace.\u0022 But in the midst of this experiment, 146 mostly young, immigrant women died in the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911. As a result of the fire, a second, interrelated experiment, New York's Factory Investigating Commission (FIC)-led by Robert Wagner and Al Smith-created one of the largest reform successes of the period. The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace, and Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York uses these linked episodes to show the increasing interdependence of labor, industry, and the state. Greenwald explains how the Protocols and the FIC best illustrate the transformation of industrial democracy and the struggle for political and economic justice.


By linking of the Protocols of Peace with the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Richard Greenwald recasts the history of industrial relations with verve and insight into gendered assumptions and class relations. With a cast of characters that includes giants of modern liberalism like Robert Wagner, Louis Brandeis, and Florence Kelley, he details how the private system of industrial adjustment intersected with a public system of labor standards to elevate middle-class expertise over worker empowerment. His is a model study of reform, labor, and the state. -Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Women's Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara Richard Greenwald shows how in Progressive Era New York garment workers, middle-class reformers, and Tammany politicians, in coalition and conflict, created new approaches to industrial relations and reform politics that remain with us today. Even those who think they know this story will learn a great deal from this lucid, engaging account. -Joshua B. Freeman, Professor of History, Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York [This book] is packed with interesting historical facts, based on the author's examination of an impressive volume of primary and secondary resources. -Jonathan Cutler, author of Labor's Time: Shorter Hours, the UAW, and the Struggle for American Unionism

About the Author

Richard A. Greenwald is Director of the Business, Society, & Culture Program and Associate Professor of History at Drew University, Madison, NJ. He is co-editor of Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective and serves on the editorial board of the journal Working USA.

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Book Info

Publication date

17th June 2005


Richard Greenwald

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Temple University Press,U.S.


344 pages


Industrial relations
Economic history



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