By ROSANNE CURRARINO
Samuel Gompers has gotten a bad rap from historians. In the last thirty years he has been called: self-serving, autocratic, bitter, imperious, an over-fed fat cat, a doddering conservative, a horse’s ass, anti-utopian, self-righteous, rather old-fashioned, a former socialist, a Powderly-hater, owlish, middle-class, stout, and squat. The best thing many have to say about him is that he did not support prohibition. Historians, it seems, appreciate a legal nip. There are, of course, plenty of scholars who have a good deal more to say about Gompers other than that his thought was “poppycock.” But look what’s made it into the textbooks (The American Pageant in this case): in the end what won was Gompers’ conservative strategy not Powderly’s utopian dream; he was forever “soft pedaling attempts to engineer sweeping social reform”; and “all he wanted, he said, was ‘more.’”
“All he wanted was more” has been the most stinging of the many indictments against Gompers. Contemporary detractors, and there were many, snipped that Gompers’ cry that “labor wants more – more today, more tomorrow and more and more and more” was nothing more than “‘pure and simple’ imbecility.” At best, huffed a New York socialist newspaper, “more” merely regurgitated “the old capitalistic sophism…that the American workman should be content to be less miserable than his foreign cousins.” Late twentieth-century critics have pointed to “more” as the sign of the AFL’s “rhapsodic” enthusiasm for capitalism and utter indifference to meaningful “social reform per se.” For labor historians in particular, the AFL’s embrace of more displayed a wholesale rejection the “moral universality” of labor republicanism or producerism in favor of accommodationist collaborations with the employers, the government and cross-class alliances like the National Civic Federation.  For non-labor historians, more has been equally alarming. Many, such as Christopher Lasch, Michael Sandel, and numerous cultural historians, have seen “more” as a cheap ruse to replace the “moral heroism” and civic spirit of proprietary democracy with mindless consumption by the “unnamed multitude.” Since the “trivial” cry of more, it turns out, wins (sort of) by the twentieth century, the critics of Gompers leave us in a pretty grim place, stuck in the middle of the teeming masses, no moral heroes in sight.
Or maybe not. I’d like to suggest here that it might be worth returning to Gompers’ pure and simple unionism once again, even if – no, especially because – it doesn’t offer that moral heroism. If we read “more” as a part of an ongoing conversation between workers, economists, social scientists, politicians, and reformers about the changing nature of democratic life, demands for “more” appear not as capitulation, accommodation or feebleness but as an articulation of a new conception of democratic citizenship, one that stressed the importance of economic participation via buying. In doing so, we might put labor history back into the debates over consumption, democracy, and citizenship that have shaped the past century, and who knows, it might even be useful to do so.
Gompers did not invent his demand for “more” out of thin air. He came to it as what we might call a philosophy via the very particular material and social circumstances of the Gilded Age. As early as 1869 following a strike of cigarmakers, he “began to realize the futility of opposing progress.” Cigarmakers, he believed, “were powerless against the substitution of machines for human skills,” and any struggle to claim ownership of the means of production or assert their rights to all the fruits of their labor. But cigarmakers could work together to demand higher wages and shorter hours – they could demand more. Capitulation to employers this was not, at least according to Gompers. Beyond its delineation of workers’ immediate goals for higher wages and shorter hours, more proposed that it was both right and reasonable for citizens to expect to partake in the emerging abundance of industrial society. In the past “the world of work was seen as the arena in which, for better or worse, the character of citizens was formed.” But by the 1880s the world of work – and not just for industrial labor but for almost all Americans – was a world of wage work, not of self-ownership and independence. Now, the arena of democratic life was the arena of consumption: the trivial, daily participation in the growing abundance of industrial America. As Gompers explained to the North American Review’s readers in 1892, “We tacitly declare that political liberty with[out] economic independence is illusory and deceptive, and that it only in so far as we gain economic independence can our political liberty become tangible and important.”
Gompers’ equation of economic and political independence made sense to him because he understood that new factors from wage work to incorporation, from mass distribution to urbanization meant that individual property ownership could no longer form the basis for social or political rights. In this understanding, he was joined by a whole host of Americans, from social scientists like Giddings and Patten to economists like Seligman and Clark, from novelists like Howells and Dreiser to reformers like Addams and Lloyd, from anti-Chinese agitators in Congress and California to shopgirls in Chicago. Like journalist Walter Weyl, they held that “to-day the chief restrictions upon liberty are economic, not legal, and the chief prerogatives desired are economic, not political.”
More was one way of articulating those “chief prerogatives” and Gompers meant “more” in a number of ways. First, and perhaps foremost, more meant “more of the good things that go to make up life; better homes, better surroundings, higher education, higher aspirations, nobler thoughts, more human feelings, all the human instincts that go to make up a manhood that shall be free and independent and loving and noble and true and sympathetic.” More was simply “a requirement for life.” In part, of course, more openly mocked those killjoys who insisted that workers had to accept that “life is a stern, hard service” in which work is “the fruit of self-denial, patience, and toil.” Material extravagances like meat, wheat bread or pie had no place in any worker’s life. Pie, opined one dour critic, “is no food for working people and does them no good.” Poppycock, Gompers might have replied.
But more wasn’t just “more stuff,” though Gompers had nothing against stuff per say (nor against pie, one imagines). Gompers also had in mind a broader understanding of more, one that went beyond money or material goods without denying the real pleasures of newspapers or new chairs. “I am,” he once explained, “in entire accord with Heine,” the German Romantic poet who insisted that “Freedom is bread. Bread is freedom.” Heine, felt Gompers, “did not mean simply the pieces of bread…which one may eat, but all that the term implies,” for “liberty can be neither exercised nor enjoyed by those who are in poverty.” More was a demand for intangibles, for social and cultural capital – “higher aspirations,” for instance, and “nobler thoughts” – as well as for social opportunities such as education. In countless speeches, Gompers called for better houses, nicer playgrounds, “happier childhoods,” all appeals for greater social welfare, couched in the language of “more.” For Gompers, greater leisure time to read, to attend lectures or otherwise to engage in mental improvement was as integral to social welfare as cleaner streets, better homes, safer jobs, or pianos. Nor was Gompers alone in demanding such things. Individual unions such as the Brotherhood of Clothing Cutters and Trimmers of Rochester included demands for greater leisure time for “self improvement” in their constitution.
Whether more was a tangible new shirt or intangible happiness, it was realized in the minutia of daily life – or, if you like, the trivia of daily life. “The workingman,” explained Gompers in an 1895 newspaper interview, “is tired of mere rhetoric and theory…[T]he workingman …wants wages that will buy him lots of the things he needs.” Lots of the things he needs might include bread (or pie) but also “a pretty picture on the wall, or perhaps a piano or organ in his parlor…[the working man] wishes everything about him to be bright and attractive.” Gompers was hardly alone in articulating the importance of trivial acts of consumption. A whole slew of public intellectuals had been arguing since the 1880s that consumption – and specifically workers’ consumption – drove economic growth. Looking back over the past 20 years, Walter Weyl explained that the growth of the consumer goods sector meant that the majority of Americans were now the engine of economic growth as consumers, not as producers. After all, Weyl explained, “everywhere it is the great mass which buys.” In 1905, for instance, American industry had produced a rather staggering $320 million worth of boots and shoes, along with an additional $70 million worth of rubber boots and shoes, to say nothing of $692 worth of clothing, $78 million of canned food, and a substantial $29 million of pickles. “How many [of these things],” Weyl asked rhetorically, “did the rich consume?”
But pickles, pretty pictures and a piano in the parlor did more than spur on economic development. In Weyl’s words again, the possibilities of mass consumption led to “a complete revolution in popular standards of living.” It pushed people to demand “a fuller life” as a condition of democracy, far beyond the older condition of the preservation of life (in the most literal sense) and property. The idea that “bread and fishes” for all might no longer be a miracle meant that demands for “a fairer distribution “ of “food and material and moral goods for all” could become central in democratic life.
Gompers made a similar argument, though in a less highfalutin way. He told a tale about a donkey, the very embodiment of the equine working class, smaller than a mule and uglier than a horse. After a long day’s work, the donkey was tethered on a short rope in his master’s yard. Having eaten all the grass he could reach from his tether, the donkey asked his master for a slightly longer rope, so that he could reach more and nicer grass. His owner obliged him, and the donkey grazed happily. The next day the donkey asked for a still longer length of rope, in order to reach even more grass. The owner was deeply annoyed. “‘You ungrateful donkey, do you not know that your father was contented with a space half as large as that which you demand?’ This allusion to his father caused the donkey,” Gompers continued, “to hang his head in shame for a moment, but brightening up he said: ‘Well, sir, but do you not know that my father was an ass?’”
Now, we could make fun of this silly donkey for ignoring the obvious. He’s got teeth, and ropes are easy to chew through. A bit of chomping and he can have all the grass he likes. But that’s not Gompers’ point. Like the donkey, suggested Gompers, the working classes had few if any immediately viable options outside of wage work. But that did not leave them without resources either. For they, like the donkey, could demand more – not because their fathers had had more (for they had most certainly not had more) but because more was the condition of modern democracy. To claim what Weyl called “the full life” the cry must remain “More! More today and more tomorrow; and then…more and more.”  “We insist,” snapped Gompers, “that we are entitled to more and we shall never cease to demand it until we get it.” But of course more is an ongoing demand: you can get enough, perhaps, but there’s always more. It’s a historical demand, always shifting never naturalized or fixed. And that was Gompers’ point. The ceaseless demand for more moved, in Weyl’s words, “the mutual relations of classes … from its old mooring” in production towards a new series of continuous social questions about economic participation, security, standard of living, high wages, and leisure time.  Without more, Weyl explained, political democracy didn’t have a leg to stand on. By the dawn of the twentieth century, he continued, and “in the final analysis, however it may be clothed in legal rights and political immunities, democracy means material goods,” accessible to all.
For both Weyl and Gompers, turn-of-the-century democracy had to be a consumer’s democracy. Not that the AFL didn’t continue to make demands about workers’ control, workplace conditions, supervision, etc. It did. Picnics one day, as workers insisted, did not preclude strikes the next.  Thus when Gompers, for instance, demanded “more of the good things that go to make up life” and that “go to make up a manhood that shall be free and independent” he included “better homes” and “better surrounding” with demands for higher wages and shorter hours. Walter Weyl called it the “new democracy.” Jane Addams called it “democracy in social terms.” Gompers called it “more.”
Countless others, however, have called it bunk. The AFL, they say, substituted a flaccid “communism of opportunity” for a more rigorous and radical “communism of productive property” and we have all paid the price ever since. I think the proponents of economic democracy would largely agree with the outline, but not the substance of this assessment of their ideas. Yes, they did indeed come to imagine that democratic life and social democratic reform might not be based on the productive world of work. They did not understand social relations as reducible to relationship to the means of production, and, consequently, their struggles for a better democratic life did not center on efforts to recapture control or ownership of production. Instead, they tried to imagine a new kind of democracy, one that placed economic participation in daily life at its center.
They were, quite consciously, attempting to negotiate the transition from one social order to another, from what we now routinely call proprietary competitive capitalism to corporate capitalism. And in doing so, they tried to make sense of the seismic shifts as well as the miniscule ones. So their arguments for economic democracy recognized the social implications of the early stages the process of disaccumulation. If, as Martin Sklar argues, disaccumulation facilitated the “ongoing net release of labor-power, measured in aggregate social labor time, from goods production” so that “goods-production” was no longer “the necessary focus and direct determinant of social organization for the mass of the people,” then it made sense that relations to the means of production were no longer the only “direct determinant of social organization.” In the early years of the twentieth century, economic thinkers like Gompers and Weyl noted too the effects of rapidly rising real wages for unskilled industrial labor, who could now claim a growing social role outside of work, as consumers. And they saw as well the mundane, but equally striking, changes in daily life: the growing popularity of spectator sports like baseball, the stunning successes of amusement parks and holiday resorts, the proliferation of nickelodeons, and the eager consumption of everything from hats to furniture. Like Henry Steele Commager forty years or so later, they understood that all of these phenomena, from changes in industrial organization to Coney Island’s Cannon Coaster signaled the end of one age and the beginning of another.
That new age was the Age of More, I think, and it’s been our age too. Going back to its origins – and returning to Gompers – reminds us that more was a political demand, most especially when it was about parlor pianos. We forget that, I think, when we think like Gompers’ critics. For the questions of the Age of More, that is, Gompers’ questions, aren’t about “buying stuff” for the sake of stuff, Veblen’s worst nightmare. They’re questions about distribution, equality, inequality, who can buy, who cannot, why or why not, and with what result. They’re questions, in other words, about just how just or fair or comfortable or good American life is – or could be. They were Gompers’ questions and they are worth going back to again.
Rosanne Currarino teaches US history at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. Her book “The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age” (Working Class in American History Series, University of Illinois Press, 2011) examines diverse efforts to redefine the parameters of democratic participation in industrial America.
 Paraphrases or direct quotes from: Paul Buhle, Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland and the Tragedy of American Labor (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1999), 195 (autocratic), 106 (doddering conservative), 16 (over-fed fat cat), 7 (misleader), 4 (self-serving); John H. O’Rourke and Michael S. Cross, “To the Dartmouth Station: A Worker’s Eye View of Labour History,” Labour / Le Travail 1 (1976): 197 (horse’s ass); Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, Abridged ed. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 5 (conservative), 76 (bitter and vindictive); Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History, rev. ed. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998), 56 (stout, owlish, self-righteous, rather old fashioned), 87 (Gompers did not support prohibition); William M. Adler, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011), 10 (imperious); Eric Arenson, ed., Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History (New York: Routledge, 2007), 526 (Gompers and other AFL leaders wanted to “avoid what they saw as ‘utopian’ movements”); Warren R. Van Tine, Making of the Labor Bureaucrat: Union Leadership in the United States, 1870-1920 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1973), 75 (middle-class), 100 (Powderly-hater), 190 (full of poppycock); Michael E. McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920 (New York: Free Press, 2003), 139 (accommodationist); David Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor: Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865-1925 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 406 (conservative), 453 (ossified); David Kennedy, et al, The American Pageant, Vol. II, Since 1865, 14th ed. (New York: Wadsworth Publishing, 2008), 479 (squat), 480 (soft pedaled attempts to engineer sweeping social reform), 480 (all he wanted, he said, was more and paraphrase of Powderly’s utopian dream).
 “Barnum Sammy,” People (New York), October 13, 1895 in Kaufman, Albert, and Palladino, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 4:68, 67.
 Kim Moody, An Injury to All: The Decline of American Unionism (London: Verso, 1988), 56. See also Foster Rhea Dulles and Melvyn Dubofsky, Labor in America: A History, 6th ed. (Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2004), 195-209; Philip Sheldon Foner, History of the Labor Movement in the United States, vol. 1, From Colonial Times to the Founding of the American Federation of Labor, 4th ed. (New York: International Publishers, 1972), 517. For a particularly well-stated version of Foner’s argument on the limitations of the AFL’s and Gompers’ programs, see Sarah Lyons Watts, Order Against Chaos: Business Culture and Labor Ideology in America. Watts argues that “[t]he emergence of Samuel Gompers and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) as the leading spokesmen for the American labor movement paved the way for the triumph of capital’s new definition of labor. The AFL defined workers in narrowly economic terms determined by their role in production, rather than in broader definitions put forward by the Knights of Labor or, later, by Eugene V. Debs that workers were citizens with broad social obligations and political responsibilities. The AFL focused on institutional collective bargaining based on contracts and thus relegated itself to a functional role within the corporate structure.” (xi)
 David Montgomery, “Labor and the Republic in Industrial America: 1860-1920” Le Mouvement Social, 111, Georges Haupt Parmi Nous (Apr. – Jun., 1980): 211. Montgomery notes that there were “counter currents” in the form the IWW and Socialist Party but they were consistently “less powerful and less heard.” See also Shelton Stromquist, Re-inventing “The People”: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 5; Leon Fink, “New Labor History and the Powers of Historical Pessimism: Consensus, Hegemony, and the Case of the Knights of Labor,” Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 119. On labor historians and labor republicanism, see Richard Schneirov, Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism in Chicago, 1864-92 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 9-10, 237-248.
 Christopher Lasch, True and Only Heaven: Progress and its Critics (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), 334; Michael J. Sandel, Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996), 224-225; David Steigerwald, “All Hail the Republic of Choice: Consumer History as Contemporary Thought,” Journal of American History 93 (September 2006): 385-403, quotation at 399.
Doug Rossinow has argued that “[h]istorians at times gave the impression that rebellions in U.S. history…were authentic and inspiring only to the extent that they were free from any taint of liberal ideology.” One historiographical consequence of this, notes Rossinow, has been that installation of the “Knights…to heroic status in the annals of Gilded Age America,” “exempted…from the moral stains of narrow self-interest, elitism and racism that have market the reputation of the American Federation of Labor’s craft unionists.” Doug Rossinow, Visions of Progress: The Left-Liberal Tradition in America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), 2, 18.
 Samuel Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labor, Volume 1 (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1925), 47, 50. Gompers understood this push for practical achievements as a reflection of the particularities of the American circumstance: unlike their European counterparts, American workers had most political and legal rights. What they lacked was significant economic power, both in and out of the workplace.(60)
 Samuel Gompers, “Organized Labor in the Campaign,” North American Review, July 1892 in Stuart B. Kaufman and Peter J. Albert, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, Vol. 3, Unrest and Depression, 1891-94 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989), 203.
 Walter Weyl, The New Democracy: An Essay on Certain Political and Economic Tendencies in the United States  (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishes, 2005), 164, 1, 209, 197.
 “On the Attitude of Organized Labor Toward Organized Charity,” American Federationist 6 (March 1899): 82.
 Jonathan B. Harrison, Certain Dangerous Tendencies in American Life (1880) and Hamilton W. Mabie, Essays on Work and Culture (1902) both quoted in Daniel Rodgers, The Work Ethic in Industrial America, 1850-1920 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 10, 13.
 “Labor’s Hard Lot,” Patterson Labor Standard, November 21, 1896.
 Samuel Gompers, “Speech Delivered by President Gompers Before Meeting Civil Federation New York at the Banquet April 25th, 1905,” American Federationist 12 (August 1905): 4.
 Constitution, By-Laws, Rules of Order and Order of Business of the Brotherhood of Clothing Cutters and Trimmers (Rochester: W.G. Spinning, 1894), 12.
 “Labor,” Minneapolis Tribune, October 27, 1895 in Stuart B. Kaufman, Peter J. Albert, and Grace Palladino, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, Vol. 4, A National Labor Movement Takes Shape, 1895-87 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 71-72.
 “President Gompers’ Address,” Louisville Courier Journal, May 2, 1890 in Stuart B. Kaufman, ed., The Samuel Gompers Papers, Vol. 2, The Early Years of the American Federation of Labor, 1887-90 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), 311.
 I could and should point out that many socialists were, despite what the historiography often seems to suggest, not that far from Gompers here. See for instance John Spargo, Applied Socialism: A Study of the Application of Socialistic Principles to the State (New York: B.W. Huebsch, 1912), 182, 190; Mark Pittenger, American Socialists and Evolutionary Thought, 1870-1920 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), 128-129, 101; and John P. Enyeart, “Revolution or Evolution: The Socialist Party, Western Workers, and Law in the Progressive Era,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 2 (October 2003): 377-402.
 Weyl, 217.
 Weyl, 213.
 “President Gompers’ Address,” Louisville Courier Journal, May 2, 1890 in Kaufman, ed., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 2: 313-314.
 “On the Attitude of Organized Labor Toward Organized Charity,” American Federationist, 6 (March 1899), 82. For just several of many other similar demands for more, see Samuel Gompers to Editor, Chicagoer Arbeiter-Zeitung, May 4, 1896 in Kaufman, Albert, and Palladino, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 4:161-162 and “The Trades Unions Conference,” Manchester Guardian, Sept 6, 1895 in Kaufman, Albert, and Palladino, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 4:60.
 As political scientist Roberto Alejandro has argued, categories like “citizen” or “we, the people” are “universals that we are able to locate in time, but whose historicity” is lost in the undifferentiated, ontological nature of the rights claim. But more’s very ongoing nature was dependent on its specific, current, and ever-shifting historical context. Unlike static, universal categories that mask inequality, more directly recognized social and economic inequalities. Gompers believed firmly that wage work was a condition of industrial capitalism, and workers could only change their position within industrial society boring from within, by demanding practical and material benefits of industrial production, would each worker be “thereby furnished with the weapons which shall secure for him industrial emancipation.” Roberto Alejandro, Hermeneutics, Citizenship, and the Public Sphere (Albany: SUNY Press, 1993), 2; Linda K. Kerber, “The Meanings of Citizenship,” The Journal of American History, 84:3 (December, 1997), 833-854; “On the Attitude of Organized Labor Toward Organized Charity,” American Federationist 6 (March 1899): 82; “President Gompers’ Address,” Louisville Courier Journal, May 2, 1890 in Kaufman, ed., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 2: 313-314; ; Kaufman, 171-179, quotation at 178. See also, “The Labor Question,” Rocky Mountain News (Denver), February 10, 1888 in Kaufman, ed., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 2: 82; “To the Officer and Members of the New York Stereotypers Association,” ca. February 23-27, 1888, in Kaufman, ed., The Samuel Gompers Papers, 2: 91.
 Weyl, 200, 197, 188, 200.
 Weyl, 202, 194.
 Michael Kazin and Steven J. Ross, “America’s Labor Day: The Dilemma of a Workers’ Celebration,” Journal of American History 78 (March 1992): 1307.
 “On the Attitude of Organized Labor Toward Organized Charity,” American Federationist 6 (March 1899): 82; Weyl, The New Democracy; Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York: Macmillan & Co., 1910), 125. Democracy might well include, as it did in many places, the tools of direct democracy such as the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. But out of the debates over the labor question emerged a consensus that in an industrial society, marked by mass production, democracy came to be understood in economic and cultural terms as well. On the expansion of cultural politics, the place to start is James Livingston, Pragmatism, Feminism and Democracy: Rethinking the Politics of American History (New York: Routledge, 2001).
 Selig Perlman, A Theory of the Labor Movement, (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1949), 6-7; Thomas A. Krueger, “American Labor Historiography, Old and New,” Journal of Social History, 4 (Spring 1971), 278; Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Re-interpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1963); J. David Greenstone, Labor in American Politics (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1968); David Montgomery, Workers’ Control in America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); Shelton Stromquist, Re-inventing “The People”: The Progressive Movement, the Class Problem, and the Origins of Modern Liberalism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006).
 The arguments for understanding class as reducible to the means of production often suggest an ontological or transhistorical understanding of “class.” But as Christopher Clark, among many others, has pointed out, class was defined much more broadly in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and was as much “an ideological claim” as a relationship to productive property. Christopher Clark, “Comment on the Symposium on Class in the Early Republic,” Journal of the Early Republic 25 (Winter 2005): 559; Jennifer L. Goloby, “The Early American Middle Class,” Journal of the Early Republic 25 (Winter 2005): 537-545.
 Martin J. Sklar, The United States as a Developing Country: Studies in U.S: History in the Progressive Era and the 1920s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 157. For less technical, but very similar argument, see Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), 315-316.
 Weyl, 174-177. As Paul Douglas (who was strongly influenced by both John Bates Clark and the Quaker reform tradition) showed in his impressive 1930 work on real wages, nonunion payroll workers saw their hourly rate of pay increase much more rapidly than did union workers (usually skilled workers) in the first two decades of the twentieth century. At the same time, the number of hours each worker labored declined throughout the same period, so real annual income did not increase with the same alacrity as it had in previous decades and most of the increase was found in the historically lower-paid, and less skilled, echelons of the working class. Stanley Lebergott’s and Albert Rees’ modification of Douglas’s statistics demonstrated that all workers saw in increase in real wages throughout the period, across manufacturing (though unevenly by industry), and most of that increase came from rising wage rages on a particular job, rather than from occupational mobility. However, Rees also showed that, in keeping with capitalists’ efforts to wrest control and profit from skilled workers via mechanization, output per manhour increased far more rapidly than did real hourly wages. Wage earners’ share of total manufacturing output, therefore, fell. Paul Douglas, Real Wages in the United States 1890-1926  (New York: Augustus Kelley Reprints, 1966); Stanley Lebergott, “Earnings of Nonfarm Employees in the U. S., 1890-1946,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 43 (March 1948), 74-93; Rees, Real Wages in Manufacturing, 1890-1914 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), 124-127; Albert Rees, “Douglas on Wages and the Supply of Labor,” Journal of Political Economic 87 (October 1979): 915-922; Mary O. Furner, “Knowing Capitalism: Public Investigation and the Labor Question in the Long Progressive Era,” in The State and Economic Knowledge: The American and British Experiences, Mary O. Furner and Barry Supple, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 263-268.
 Henry Steele Commager, The American Mind: An Interpretation of American Thought and Character Since the 1880’s (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950), 41-54.