PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR
Samuel Gompers was the most important labor leader in American history prior to the epic labor struggles of the 1930s. He guided the American Federation of Labor (AFL) through a period in which labor's most fundamental rights were questioned. In an era of intense struggle between labor and capital, Gompers steered a moderate course for the skilled workers in trade unions and helped establish ties between labor and the federal government through his support of the Wilson administration during World War I. He rose from meager beginnings to become a confidant of presidents, politicians, and businessmen. As president of the AFL from 1886 to 1924 Gompers loaded the AFL and the cause of organized labor on his back and carried them into the center of American...
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