Lobbying, persuasion, or interest representation is the act of attempting to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of officials in their daily life, most legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many types of people and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups. Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within their electoral district. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation, regulation, or other government decisions, actions, or policies on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job. Governments define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential; the ethics and morals involved with lobbying are complicated. Lobbying can, at times, be spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law in order to serve their own interests.
When people who have a duty to act on behalf of others, such as elected officials with a duty to serve their constituents' interests or more broadly the public good, can benefit by shaping the law to serve the interests of some private parties, a conflict of interest exists. Many critiques of lobbying point to the potential for conflicts of interest to lead to agent misdirection or the intentional failure of an agent with a duty to serve an employer, client, or constituent to perform those duties; the failure of government officials to serve the public interest as a consequence of lobbying by special interests who provide benefits to the official is an example of agent misdirection. In a report carried by the BBC, an OED lexicographer has shown that "lobbying" finds its roots in the gathering of Members of Parliament and peers in the hallways of the UK Houses of Parliament before and after parliamentary debates where members of the public can meet their representatives. One story held that the term originated at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, where it was used by President Ulysses S. Grant to describe the political advocates who frequented the hotel's lobby to access Grant—who was there in the evenings to enjoy a cigar and brandy—and would try to buy the president drinks in an attempt to influence his political decisions.
Although the term may have gained more widespread currency in Washington, D. C. by virtue of this practice during the Grant Administration, the OED cites numerous documented uses of the word well before Grant's presidency, including use in Pennsylvania as early as 1808. The term "lobbying" appeared in print as early as 1820: Other letters from Washington affirm, that members of the Senate, when the compromise question was to be taken in the House, were not only "lobbying about the Representatives' Chamber" but active in endeavoring to intimidate certain weak representatives by insulting threats to dissolve the Union. Dictionary definitions:'Lobbying' is a form of advocacy with the intention of influencing decisions made by the government by individuals or more by lobby groups. A'lobbyist' is a person who tries to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest or a member of a lobby. Governments define and regulate organized group lobbying as part of laws to prevent political corruption and by establishing transparency about possible influences by public lobby registers.
Lobby groups may concentrate their efforts on the legislatures, where laws are created, but may use the judicial branch to advance their causes. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for example, filed suits in state and federal courts in the 1950s to challenge segregation laws, their efforts resulted in the Supreme Court declaring such laws unconstitutional. Lobbyists may use a legal device known as amicus curiae briefs to try to influence court cases. Briefs are written documents filed with a court by parties to a lawsuit. Amici curiae briefs are briefs filed by groups who are not parties to a suit; these briefs are entered into the court records, give additional background on the matter being decided upon. Advocacy groups use these briefs both to promote their positions; the lobbying industry is affected by the revolving door concept, a movement of personnel between roles as legislators and regulators and roles in the industries affected by legislation and regulation, as the main asset for a lobbyist is contacts with and influence on government officials.
This climate is attractive for ex-government officials. It can mean substantial monetary rewards for lobbying firms, government projects and contracts worth in the hundreds of millions for those they represent; the international standards for the regulation of lobbying were introduced at four international organizations and supranational associations: 1) the European Union. In pre-modern political systems, royal courts provided incidental opportunities for gaining the ear of monarchs and their councillors. Nowadays, lobying has taken a more drastic position as big corporations pressure politicians to help them gain more benefit. Lobying has become a big part of the world economy as big companies corrupt regulations. Kellogg School of Manag
The working class comprises those engaged in waged or salaried labour in manual-labour occupations and industrial work. Working-class occupations include blue-collar jobs, some white-collar jobs, most pink-collar jobs. Members of the working class rely for their income upon their earnings from wage labour. In Marxist theory and socialist literature, the term working class is used interchangeably with the term proletariat and includes all workers who expend both physical and mental labour to produce economic value for the owners of the means of production; as with many terms describing social class, working class is defined and used in many different ways. The most general definition, used by Marxists and many socialists, is that the working class includes all those who have nothing to sell but their labour power and skills. In that sense it includes both white and blue-collar workers and mental workers of all types, excluding only individuals who derive their income from business ownership and the labour of others.
When used non-academically in the United States, however, it refers to a section of society dependent on physical labour when compensated with an hourly wage. For certain types of science, as well as less scientific or journalistic political analysis, for example, the working class is loosely defined as those without college degrees. Working-class occupations are categorized into four groups: unskilled labourers, artisans and factory workers. A common alternative, sometimes used in sociology, is to define class by income levels; when this approach is used, the working class can be contrasted with a so-called middle class on the basis of differential terms of access to economic resources, cultural interests, other goods and services. The cut-off between working class and middle class here might mean the line where a population has discretionary income, rather than sustenance; some researchers have suggested that working-class status should be defined subjectively as self-identification with the working-class group.
This subjective approach allows people, rather than researchers. In feudal Europe, the working class as such did not exist in large numbers. Instead, most people were part of the labouring class, a group made up of different professions and occupations. A lawyer and peasant were all considered to be part of the same social unit, a third estate of people who were neither aristocrats nor church officials. Similar hierarchies existed outside Europe in other pre-industrial societies; the social position of these labouring classes was viewed as ordained by natural law and common religious belief. This social position was contested by peasants, for example during the German Peasants' War. In the late 18th century, under the influence of the Enlightenment, European society was in a state of change, this change could not be reconciled with the idea of a changeless god-created social order. Wealthy members of these societies created ideologies which blamed many of the problems of working-class people on their morals and ethics.
In The Making of the English Working Class, E. P. Thompson argues that the English working class was present at its own creation, seeks to describe the transformation of pre-modern labouring classes into a modern, politically self-conscious, working class. Starting around 1917, a number of countries became ruled ostensibly in the interests of the working class; some historians have noted that a key change in these Soviet-style societies has been a massive a new type of proletarianization effected by the administratively achieved forced displacement of peasants and rural workers. Since four major industrial states have turned towards semi-market-based governance, one state has turned inwards into an increasing cycle of poverty and brutalization. Other states of this sort have either collapsed, or never achieved significant levels of industrialization or large working classes. Since 1960, large-scale proletarianization and enclosure of commons has occurred in the third world, generating new working classes.
Additionally, countries such as India have been undergoing social change, expanding the size of the urban working class. Karl Marx defined the working class or proletariat as individuals who sell their labour power for wages and who do not own the means of production, he argued. He asserted that the working class physically build bridges, craft furniture, grow food, nurse children, but do not own land, or factories. A sub-section of the proletariat, the lumpenproletariat, are the poor and unemployed, such as day labourers and homeless people. Marx considered them to be devoid of class consciousness. In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argued that it was the destiny of the working class to displace the capitalist system, with the dictatorship of the proletariat, abolishing the social relationshi
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, business magnate, philanthropist. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is identified as one of the richest people in history, he became a leading philanthropist in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away about $350 million to charities and universities – 90 percent of his fortune, his 1889 article proclaiming "The Gospel of Wealth" called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, stimulated a wave of philanthropy. Carnegie was born in Dunfermline and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1848. Carnegie started work as a telegrapher, by the 1860s had investments in railroads, railroad sleeping cars and oil derricks, he accumulated further wealth as a bond salesman. He built Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company, which he sold to J. P. Morgan in 1901 for $303,450,000, it became the U. S. Steel Corporation. After selling Carnegie Steel, he surpassed John D. Rockefeller as the richest American for the next couple of years.
Carnegie devoted the remainder of his life to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace and scientific research. With the fortune he made from business, he built Carnegie Hall in New York, NY, the Peace Palace and founded the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Carnegie Hero Fund, Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, among others. Andrew Carnegie was born to Margaret Morrison Carnegie and William Carnegie in Dunfermline, Scotland in 1835, in a typical weaver's cottage with only one main room, consisting of half the ground floor, shared with the neighboring weaver's family; the main room served as a living room, dining bedroom. He was named after his legal grandfather. In 1836, the family moved to a larger house in Edgar Street, following the demand for more heavy damask, from which his father benefited, he was educated at the Free School in Dunfermline, a gift to the town by the philanthropist Adam Rolland of Gask.
Carnegie's uncle, George Lauder, Sr. a Scottish political leader influenced him as a boy by introducing him to the writings of Robert Burns and historical Scottish heroes such as Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Rob Roy. Lauder's son named George Lauder, grew up with Carnegie and would become his business partner; when Carnegie was thirteen, his father had fallen on hard times as a handloom weaver. His mother helped support the family by assisting her brother, by selling potted meats at her "sweetie shop", leaving her as the primary breadwinner. Struggling to make ends meet, the Carnegies decided to borrow money from George Lauder, Sr. and move to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1848 for the prospect of a better life. Carnegie's migration to America would be his second journey outside Dunfermline – the first being an outing to Edinburgh to see Queen Victoria. In September 1848, Carnegie arrived with his family at their new prosperous home. Allegheny was populating in the 1840s, growing from around 10,000 to 21,262 residents.
The city was industrial and produced many products including wool and cotton cloth. The "Made in Allegheny" label used on these and other diversified products was becoming more and more popular. For his father, the promising circumstances still did not provide him any good fortune. Dealers were not interested in selling his product, he himself struggled to sell it on his own; the father and son both received job offers at the same Scottish-owned cotton mill, Anchor Cotton Mills. Carnegie's first job in 1848 was as a bobbin boy, changing spools of thread in a cotton mill 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in a Pittsburgh cotton factory, his starting wage was $1.20 per week. His father quit his position at the cotton mill soon after, returning to his loom and removing him as breadwinner once again, but Carnegie attracted the attention of John Hay, a Scottish manufacturer of bobbins, who offered him a job for $2.00 per week. In his autobiography, Carnegie speaks of his past hardships. Soon after this Mr. John Hay, a fellow Scotch manufacturer of bobbins in Allegheny City, needed a boy, asked whether I would not go into his service.
I went, received two dollars per week. I had to fire the boiler in the cellar of the bobbin factory, it was too much for me. I found myself night after night, sitting up in bed trying the steam gauges, fearing at one time that the steam was too low and that the workers above would complain that they had not power enough, at another time that the steam was too high and that the boiler might burst. In 1849, Carnegie became a telegraph messenger boy in the Pittsburgh Office of the Ohio Telegraph Company, at $2.50 per week following the recommendation of his uncle. He was a hard worker and would memorize all of the locations of Pittsburgh's businesses and the faces of important men, he made many connections this way. He paid close attention to his work, learned to distinguish the differing sounds the incoming telegraph signals produced, he developed the ability to translate signals by ear, withou
International Longshoremen's Association
The International Longshoremen's Association is a labor union representing longshore workers along the East Coast of the United States and Canada, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, inland waterways. The ILA has 200 local affiliates in port cities in these areas; the roots of the International Longshoremen's Association date to colonial America when the arrival of ships bearing goods from Europe was greeted with cries for "Men ‘long shore!" At first, the "longshoremen" who came to the ships were engaged in any number of full-time occupations, but left their work to unload the anxiously awaited and sometimes needed supplies without compensation. As America began to develop a fledgling economy, the ships increased, longshore work became a full-time occupation; as the nation matured, many new immigrants congregated in the cities, hoping to find work along the coast, where the bulk of business was still being done. The number of professional longshoremen grew by thousands. By the early 19th century, the longshoreman of the day eked out a meager existence along the North Atlantic coast.
Their working conditions were wretched and their wages pitiful. Many were new to the country and unfamiliar with language. Exploitation was the order of the day. Thus, by mid-century, the longshoremen had begun to organize. In 1864, the first modern longshoremen's union was formed in the port of New York, it was called the Longshoremen's Union Protective Association. While longshoremen in the United States had organized and conducted strikes before there was a United States, the ILA traces its origins to a union of longshoremen on the Great Lakes: the Association of Lumber Handlers founded in 1877 renamed the National Longshoremen's Association of the United States, in 1892, it joined the American Federation of Labor in 1895 and renamed itself the International Longshoremen's Association several years when it admitted Canadian longshoremen to membership. Organized and led by an Irish tugboat worker named Daniel Keefe, the organization had as many as 100,000 members on the Great Lakes, the East Coast, the West Coast and the Gulf Coast in 1905.
From the outset, Keefe faced significant challenges, most notably the outright hostility to unions of Chicago's influential industrialists and the traditional anti-union leanings of longshore recruits from small Midwestern towns. Keefe expanded membership in the newborn union to include large numbers of dockworkers; the late 19th century was a time of great economic upheaval which saw periods of full employment and union expansion followed by depression, lower wages, intense competition for jobs. There were bitter divisions among their "non-white" counterparts; these divisions were to some extent exacerbated and exploited by business interests seeking to turn the unions against themselves. Various unions, such as LUPA and the Knights of Labor, competed with one another, weak labor leadership was unable to resist powerful business interests. Unions were broken. LUPA was disbanded before the start of the 20th century, but other labor unions fought back. There were countless wildcat and/or organized work stoppages resulting in violence and massive losses in wages.
Between 1881 and 1905 there were more than 30,000 strikes. In 1892, delegates from eleven ports convened in Detroit where they adopted the by-laws of the Longshoremen's Chicago local and the name National Longshoremen's Association of The United States. By 1895, the name was changed to International Longshoremen's Association to reflect the growing numbers of Canadian members. Shortly thereafter, the ILA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor; as the start of the 20th century loomed, the ILA had 50,000 members all on the Great Lakes. By 1905, membership had doubled to 100,000, half of which were scattered throughout the rest of the country. ILA leaders focused on securing closed shop contracts. Keefe bargained with employers, guaranteeing uninterrupted work in return for badly needed improvements in working conditions and wage increases. Daniel Keefe retired as President of the ILA in 1908, succeeded by another Great Lakes tugboat man, T. V. O'Connor. O'Connor's presidency spanned twelve of the ILA's most influential years.
In 1909, a bitter three-year strike on the Great Lakes pitted the employers' Lake Carriers' Association against every maritime union except the ILA, whose locals wisely voted against participation because it was clear to them from the beginning that the strike was a losing battle. So powerful and well equipped was the Lake Carriers' Association that Lakes shipping ran regularly despite the union walk out. In the end, the ILA was alone on the Lakes. For longshoremen nationwide, for those in the Port of New York, this was an era of great contradiction, where landmark legal advances to protect the rights and safety of workers stood in stark contrast to the actual conditions for longshoremen; the United States was the only country with a large foreign commerce without any laws to protect the safety of its longshoremen. The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which legalized strikes and peaceful picketing did little to improve actual working conditions for longshoremen; the 1914 absorption of LUPA into the ILA prompted the creation of the ILA's New York District Council and ignited an intense period of growth for the union both in terms of size and power.
The organization of coastwise longshoremen in 1916 was a significant victory that improved the ILA's p
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, conservationist and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He served as the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900; as a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is ranked as one of the five best presidents. Roosevelt was born a sickly child with debilitating asthma, but he overcame his physical health problems by embracing a strenuous lifestyle, he integrated his exuberant personality, vast range of interests, world-famous achievements into a "cowboy" persona defined by robust masculinity. Home-schooled, he began a lifelong naturalist avocation before attending Harvard College.
His book, The Naval War of 1812, established his reputation as both a learned historian and as a popular writer. Upon entering politics, he became the leader of the reform faction of Republicans in New York's state legislature. Following the near-simultaneous deaths of his wife and mother, he escaped to a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. Roosevelt served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley, but resigned from that post to lead the Rough Riders during the Spanish–American War. Returning a war hero, he was elected Governor of New York in 1898. After the death of Vice President Garret Hobart, the New York state party leadership convinced McKinley to accept Roosevelt as his running mate in the 1900 election. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously, the McKinley-Roosevelt ticket won a landslide victory based on a platform of peace and conservation. After taking office as Vice President in March 1901, he assumed the presidency at age 42 following McKinley's assassination that September, remains the youngest person to become President of the United States.
As a leader of the Progressive movement, he championed his "Square Deal" domestic policies, promising the average citizen fairness, breaking of trusts, regulation of railroads, pure food and drugs. Making conservation a top priority, he established many new national parks and monuments intended to preserve the nation's natural resources. In foreign policy, he focused on Central America, he expanded the Navy and sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to project the United States' naval power around the globe. His successful efforts to broker the end of the Russo-Japanese War won him the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize, he avoided controversial money issues. Elected in 1904 to a full term, Roosevelt continued to promote progressive policies, many of which were passed in Congress. Roosevelt groomed his close friend, William Howard Taft, Taft won the 1908 presidential election to succeed him. Frustrated with Taft's conservatism, Roosevelt belatedly tried to win the 1912 Republican nomination, he failed, walked out and founded a third party, the Progressive, so-called "Bull Moose" Party, which called for wide-ranging progressive reforms.
He ran in the 1912 election and the split allowed the Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the election. Following his defeat, Roosevelt led a two-year expedition to the Amazon basin, where he nearly died of tropical disease. During World War I, he criticized President Wilson for keeping the country out of the war with Germany, his offer to lead volunteers to France was rejected. Though he had considered running for president again in 1920, Roosevelt's health continued to deteriorate, he died in 1919. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was born on October 1858, at East 20th Street in New York City. He was the second of four children born to socialite Martha Stewart "Mittie" Bulloch and businessman and philanthropist Theodore Roosevelt Sr.. He had an older sister, Anna, a younger brother, a younger sister, Corinne. Elliott was the father of First Lady Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of Theodore's distant cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his paternal grandfather was of Dutch descent. Theodore Sr. was the fifth son of businessman Cornelius Van Schaack "C.
V. S." Roosevelt and Margaret Barnhill. Theodore's fourth cousin, James Roosevelt I, a businessman, was the father of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Mittie was the younger daughter of Major James Stephens Bulloch and Martha P. "Patsy" Stewart. Through the Van Schaacks, Roosevelt was a descendant of the Schuyler family. Roosevelt's youth was shaped by his poor health and debilitating asthma, he experienced sudden nighttime asthma attacks that caused the experience of being smothered to death, which terrified both Theodore and his parents. Doctors had no cure, he was energetic and mischievously inquisitive. His lifelong interest in zoology began at age seven. Having learned the rudiments of taxidermy, he filled his makeshift museum with animals that he killed or caught. At age nine, he recorded his observation of insects in a paper entitled "The Natural History of Insects". Roosevelt'
William Vincent Astor was an American businessman and member of the prominent Astor family. Called Vincent, he was born in New York City on November 15, 1891, he was the elder son of John Jacob Astor IV, a wealthy businessman and inventor, his first wife, Ava Lowle Willing, an heiress from Philadelphia. He graduated in 1910 from St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island, attended Harvard University from 1911 to 1912, leaving school without graduating. Like his father, Astor belonged to the New York Society of Colonial Wars, he served as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1928 to 1930. Astor was interested in trains. In the early 1930s, he established an estate in Bermuda which included a private narrow-gauge railway and union station with the Bermuda Railway; the estate is now divided between none of whom are part of the Astor family. As as 1992, the remains of some of his rolling stock were visible. Vincent Astor was, according to family biographer Derek Wilson, "a hitherto unknown phenomenon in America: an Astor with a developed social conscience."
He was 20 when his father died, having inherited a massive fortune, dropped out of Harvard University. He set about to change the family image from that of miserly, aloof slum landlords who enjoyed the good life at the expense of others. Over time, he sold off the family's New York City slum housing and reinvested in reputable enterprises, while spending a great deal of time and energy helping others, he was responsible for the construction of a large housing complex in the Bronx that included sufficient land for a large children's playground, in Harlem, he transformed a valuable piece of real estate into another playground for children. Astor appeared as No. 12 on the first list of America's richest people, compiled by Forbes magazine. His net worth at the time was estimated at $75 million. Amongst his holdings was Newsweek magazine, he was its chairman; the magazine had for a time its headquarters in the former Knickerbocker Hotel, built by his father. He inherited Ferncliff, the Astor family's 2,800-acre estate near Rhinebeck, New York, where his father had been born.
Vincent Astor, would be the last family owner of the estate and occupant of the "Ferncliff Casino", a Stanford White—McKim Mead & White designed 1904 Beaux Arts style 40,000 square feet building, inspired by the Grand Trianon at Versailles. On his death in 1959, Astor bequeathed a main house at Ferncliff to the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, New York, his widow, Brooke donated "Ferncliff Casino" to the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, sold off many parcels of the estate. In 1963, Homer Staley, a local retired businessman in the area, asked Brooke Astor to preserve the remaining natural acreage of woodlands from development, she donated the land to the Rotary Club of Rhinebeck, to become the Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve. Astor married Helen Dinsmore Huntington, on April 30, 1914. At the ceremony, he was stricken with a disease that made him sterile; the couple divorced in 1940. A year Helen became the second wife of Lytle Hull, a real-estate broker, a friend and business associate of her former husband.
Shortly after his divorce, Astor married Mary Benedict Cushing, the eldest daughter of Dr. Harvey Williams Cushing and Katharine Stone Crowell. Mary's sisters were Barbara "Babe" Cushing, they divorced in September 1953, the following month, Mary wed James Whitney Fosburgh, a painter who worked as an art lecturer at the Frick Museum. On October 8, 1953, several weeks after divorcing his second wife, Astor married the once-divorced, once-widowed Roberta Brooke Russell. According to an often-told story in society circles, Astor agreed to divorce his second wife only after she had found him a replacement spouse, her first suggestion was Janet Newbold Ryan Stewart Bush, the newly divorced wife of James Smith Bush II, who turned Astor down with startling candor, saying, "I don't like you." Astor proceeded to tell her that he was not well and, though only in his early 60s, he could not be expected to live for long, whereupon she would inherit his millions. At that, Janet Bush replied, "What if you do live?"
Mary Cushing proposed Brooke. Together and Brooke developed the Vincent Astor Foundation, a foundation, designed to give back to New York City. Brooke died in 2007 at the age of 105. Astor joined the Naval Reserve shortly after it was founded and was commissioned as an ensign on December 28, 1915, he was called to active duty as part of the New York Naval Militia in February 1917 by order of Governor Charles S. Whitman to help guard bridges and aqueducts against possible German sabotage. Astor was assigned to help guard the Manhattan bridges. Following the declaration of war against Germany, Astor took advice from his friend and future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and volunteered for active duty with the Navy on April 7, 1917, he went overseas on June 9 on the USS Noma. He was assigned to the armed yacht USS Aphrodite, he was promoted to lieutenant on January 1, 1918, to lieutenant on July 1, 1918. He was joined in France by his wife, who did charity work with the YMCA at the naval base in Bordeaux, while he served as Port Officer at Royan.
His last assignment was as an officer on the captured German minelaying submarine U-117 during her voyage to the United States. Astor re
Samuel Gompers was an English-born American labor union leader and a key figure in American labor history. Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor, served as the organization's president from 1886 to 1894, from 1895 until his death in 1924, he promoted harmony among the different craft unions that comprised the AFL, trying to minimize jurisdictional battles. He promoted thorough organization and collective bargaining, to secure shorter hours and higher wages, the first essential steps, he believed, to emancipating labor, he encouraged the AFL to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies". He supported Democrats, but sometimes Republicans, he opposed Socialists. During World War I, Gompers and the AFL supported the war effort, attempting to avert strikes and boost morale while raising wage rates and expanding membership. Samuel Gompers was born on January 27, 1850, in London, England into a Jewish family that hailed from Amsterdam; when he was six, Samuel was sent to the Jewish Free School.
His elementary school career was brief, since a mere three months after his tenth birthday Gompers was removed from school and sent to work as an apprentice cigar maker to help earn money for his impoverished family. Gompers was able to continue his studies in night school, during which time he learned Hebrew and studied the Talmud, a process that he long recalled was akin to studying law. Gompers held Yiddish in low regard. Owing to dire financial straits, the Gompers family immigrated to the United States in 1863, settling in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Gompers' father was engaged in the manufacture of cigars at home, assisted for the first year and half by Samuel. In his free time, the young teenager formed a debate club with his friends, an activity that provided practical experience in public speaking and parliamentary procedure; the club drew Gompers into contact with other upwardly mobile young men of the city, including a young Irish-American named Peter J. McGuire, who would play a large role in the AFL.
In 1864, at the age of 14, Gompers joined and became involved in the activities of the Cigar Makers Local Union No. 15, the English-speaking union of cigar makers in New York City. Gompers recounted his days as a cigar maker at the bench in detail, emphasizing the place of craftsmanship in the production process: Any kind of an old loft served as a cigar shop. If there were enough windows, we had sufficient light for our work. Cigar shops were always dusty from the tobacco. Benches and work tables were not designed to enable the workmen to adjust bodies and arms comfortably to work surface; each workman supplied his own cutting board of lignum knife blade. The tobacco leaf was prepared by strippers who drew the leaves from the heavy stem and put them into pads of about fifty; the leaves had to be handled to prevent tearing. The craftsmanship of the cigarmaker was shown in his ability to utilize wrappers to the best advantage to shave off the unusable to a hairbreadth, to roll so as to cover holes in the leaf and to use both hands so as to make a shaped and rolled product.
These things a good cigarmaker learned to do more or less mechanically, which left us free to think, listen, or sing. I loved the freedom of that work, for I had earned the mind-freedom that accompanied skill as a craftsman. I was eager to pour out my feelings in song; the day after his seventeenth birthday he married his co-worker, sixteen-year-old Sophia Julian. They had a series of children with six surviving infancy. In 1873, Gompers moved to the cigar maker David Hirsch & Company, a "high-class shop where only the most skilled workmen were employed". Gompers called this change of employers "one of the most important changes in my life", for at Hirsch's—a union shop operated by an émigré German socialist—Gompers came into contact with an array of German-speaking cigar makers—"men of keener mentality and wider thought than any I had met before," he recalled. Gompers learned German and absorbed many of the ideas of his shop mates, developing a particular admiration for the ideas of the former secretary of the International Workingmen's Association, Karl Laurrell.
Laurrell took Gompers under his wing, challenging his more simplistic ideas and urging Gompers to put his faith in the organized economic movement of trade unionism rather than the socialist political movement. Gompers recalled: I remember asking Laurrell whether in his opinion I ought to keep in touch with the Socialist movement, he replied,'Go to their meetings by all means, listen to what they have to say and understand them, but do not join the Party.' I never did. There were good speakers present and the discussions were stimulating. Time and again, under the lure of new ideas, I went to Laurrell with glowing enthusiasm. Laurrel would say,'Study your union card, if the idea doesn't square with that, it ain't true.' My trade union card came to be my standard in all new problems. Gompers complained that the socialist movement had been captured by Lassallean advocates of "political party action" rather than the "militant economic program of Marx", he warned delegates to the 1900 annual convention that when men became enthusiastic about socialism, "they lost interest in their union".
Gompers was elected president of Cigar Makers' International Union Local 144 in 1875. As was the case with other unions of the da