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Making the World Safe for WorkersLabor, the Left, and Wilsonian Internationalism$
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Elizabeth McKillen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037870

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037870.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Making the World Safe for Workers

Elizabeth McKillen

University of Illinois Press

This book explores the corporatist alliance between President Woodrow Wilson and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and how it sparked debates over his foreign policy programs within labor circles. During World War II, Wilson pledged to make the world “safe for democracy.” For Wilson, the cooperation of the United States and international labor movements was critical to achieving this goal. To win domestic and international labor support for his foreign policies, Wilson solicited the help of AFL's conservative leaders. This book traces the origins of the partnership that developed between the Wilson administration and AFL leaders to promote U.S. foreign policy, from its tentative beginnings during policy deliberations over how the United States should respond to the Mexican revolution, through World War I, to its culmination with the creation of the International Labor Organization (ILO). It details the significant opposition to the Wilson–AFL collaboration that arose among U.S., transnational, and international labor, Socialists, and diaspora Left groups and how this opposition affected Wilson's efforts to create a permanent role for labor in international governance.

Keywords:   international labor, foreign policy, Woodrow Wilson, American Federation of Labor, labor, Left, international governance, Mexican revolution, International Labor Organization, Socialists

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