Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 January 2019
Samuel Gompers's address at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago is typically remembered for its invocation, “we want ‘more.’” This essay views Gompers's address in its broader context as a window into the Gilded Age labor movement and America's crisis of the 1890s. Gompers's thinking can be understood in terms of two sets of contradictory discourses or antinomies: labor republicanism as distinguished from socialism and apocalyptic change as distinguished from evolutionary development. Rather than someone who rationalized the interests of a narrow stratum of craft workers, Gompers emerges from this analysis as a serious and complex thinker who sought to bridge and contain divergent discourses and political tendencies within the broader labor movement for which he was the spokesperson.
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