2001 ASSLH conference: Misunderstanding Australian labour: Samuel Gompers, Billy Hughes, and the debate over compulsory arbitration

David Palmer
Senior Lecturer, American Studies, Department Social Sciences Flinders University


The compulsory arbitration and award system served as the foundation of Australian industrial relations and trade unionism throughout most of the twentieth century. In the United States, however, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) opposed compulsory arbitration. Samuel Gompers and the AFL advocated voluntarism, based on the resolution of industrial relations issues and disputes solely through employers and union representatives without government direction. In the early 1920s, the AFL even justified its opposition to compulsory arbitration by citing Prime Minister WM (“Billy”) Hughes’s 1920 attack on the Australian arbitration and award system. His “Industrial Peace” bill put before Federal Parliament attempted to bring the power of the state into all labour disputes, whether or not unions were registered and regardless of the nature of the dispute.



When we compare the Australian and American political systems in the twentieth century, one particularly remarkable difference was the existence of a labor party in Australia, which held power at the state and federal levels at various times, and the non-existence of a labor party with comparable national stature and power during this time in the United States. When American historians have raised the question—why has there not been a nationally powerful labor party in the United States—they have invariably arrived at answers lacking a comparative dimension. However, the US labor movement—in contrast to many US academics—has generally been aware of what has been happening in the Australian labor movement—but historically it has greatly misunderstood the Australian labor experience. Perhaps no better example of this misunderstanding exists than the post-World War I assessment by the American Federation of Labor (AFL), particularly its informal endorsement of Prime Minister William (“Billy”) Hughes’ attack on the rights of workers and unions exemplified in his Industrial Peace Bill of 1920.

The AFL view of the Australian arbitration system—the early 1920s

In the complete correpondence of Samuel Gompers (available on microfilm) there are very few references to Australia. One piece of correpondence, however, indicates that the AFL Executive Council, led by Gompers, kept note of developments in Australia. A high school student, HE Clagete, on the Steele High School Debating Team in Dayton, Ohio wrote to AFL Executive Council member and United Garment Workers of America President Thomas A Rickert asking for materials on the subject “That Courts of Industrial Relation similar to the Kansas Courts should be established throughout the United States for the arbitration of disputes between capital and labor in public utilities.” Rickert replied in a detailed three page letter, which concluded, “It will…be seen that the man best informed as to the working of compulsory arbitration laws in Australia and the president of an anti-Labor association of manufacturers in the United States are both of the same opinion as to its impracticability.” Rickert was not referring to Justice Henry Bourne Higgins, the most prominent authority on Australian compulsory arbitration, but to former Prime Minister Billy Hughes who had become Higgins nemesis. Rickert provided the high school debater with a long quote from Hughes, prefacing it with the comment, “Compulsory arbitration in Australia and New Zealand, where it has been enforced for twenty years, has proved a failure.”

The Hughes selection is worth quoting in full:

The industrial question, looked at from one point of view is the result of eternal conflict between the classes. Looked at from another point of view, and, I believe, the right one, it is the inevitable consequence of modern civilization and modern methods of production and distribution.

I confess that I have no remedy at hand. This House has been a laboratory of industrial experiments. I listened to Alfred Deakin introduce the arbitration and conciliation bill in a most glowing speech, and I feel now as I felt then that along the lines then outlined mankind ought to walk, abandoning the crude barbaric methods of industrial warfare. Years have passed and this perfect piece of legislation has turned out to be, despite every kind of minister in office, the most inefficient and hopelessly futile effort to solve the industrial question that ever came out of the laboratory of any industrial workshop. Even the president of the court [Justice Higgins] from time to time indulged in gloomy jeremiads and had been torn with pangs of despair.

It is a court the approach to which is marked by barbed-wire entanglements. At the very threshold of its portals there is an almost bottomless pit, and those who by happy chance found their way into the court wander aimlessly about, and at last come out almost without knowing it and saying, “Where are we” or “What has happened?”. It has frequently been necessary to strike in order to get into the court, which was designed to prevent industrial strike! Law-abiding unions which had been waiting patiently have been pushed aside, and the others have gone in and come out full to repletion. The jurisdiction of the court has been riddled again and again by High Court judgement.1

Rickert—or more probably one of his staff—truly distorted Hughes’ words in Parliament, even though most of the quote is correct. Several distortions in which words were changed or a key phrase left out are worth mentioning. Rickert’s American bias makes Hughes sound like an enemy of the bill Deakin put before Parliament, when in fact Hughes supported it as leader of the Labor Party opposition.2 Hughes did not say “this perfect piece of legislation” as if sarcastically ridiculing Deakin. Instead he said: “But though years have passed, the legislation then introduced, which we fondly hoped was perfectly suited to several of our industrial needs, has proved, no matter what Government has been in office and administering the law, to be the most inefficient” and so on.

Rickert also distorted the uses of Australian arbitration with this misquote: “Law-abiding unions which had been waiting patiently have been pushed aside, and the others have gone in and come out full to repletion. The jurisdiction of the court has been riddled again and again by High Court judgement.” Hughes actually said: “We [the Waterside Workers Federation under then-union president Hughes] struck, and, lo and behold! the law-abiding unions, which had been waiting patiently like the foolish virgins, were pushed aside, and we entered the Court straightawy, and were at once fed, and came out almost full to repletion…The jurisdiction of the [Industrial] Court has been riddled again and again by High Court Judges.”

Rickert made Hughes sound like a Prime Minister who opposed the arbitration system, in part because law-abiding unions were abused by the system. The “court” is almost made to sound like a single judicial system arraigned against the unions. This is fact was the situation that the AFL unions—and Gompers in particular—felt they were facing in the United States: the reality of an entire judicial system working against them through injunctions and other anti-labor judgements; illegimate unions taking independent direct action (such as Rickert’s rival, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union under Sidney Hillman, who organized on an industrial, not exclusionist, basis not acceptable to the AFL); and state governments (Kansas, and potentially New York and others) pushing through highly restrictive compulsory arbitration measures to block strikes and unionization.

Rickert did not understand how different the Australian compulsory arbitration system was from the American labor environment. Knowing the ways of union officers in the AFL historically, it is unlikely that Rickert actually read the original Parliamentary debate. Rickert had been a leader in the move to destroy the dissident movement to establish the ACWU on non-discrimantory democratic principles and practices, which even conservative (but pro-labor) trade union scholar Philip Taft has described as “a crass attempt by a group of officers to stay in office, irrespective of the will of the majority.”3

We do not know if Rickert realized that the non-law-abiding union had been led by Hughes himself. We do not know if he realized that a majority of High Court judges had restricted the powers of the Industrial Court (such as disallowing alteration of awards during the duration period), restictions that angered both Hughes and Higgins, and that Hughes was not attacking the entire judicial system. We do not know if Rickert was aware that some key words were excised from this quote—that those who “found their way into the court [and] wander aimlessly about” were, in Hughes’ words (deleted) “buffeted and torn by the technicalities and vagaries of the law.” Hughes was not advocating abandonment of compulsory arbitration—as Rickert seemed to read it. Hughes was calling for a radical overhaul of the system, not its abolition, as a way to restore industrial relations stability. He also had consistently advocated greater executive and Commonwealth powers over industrial relations, and was putting forward what would be the Industrial Peace Act because of failures to achieve changes through the referenda of 1913 (when he had been Attorney-General) and 1919, and through Premiers’ conferences.

Rickert also failed to inform his high school debating correspondent that the opposition Labor Party both supported improving the compulsory arbitration system, but also vehemently opposed Hughes’ plan, which later was presented as the Industrial Peace Bill. Rickert further did not mention that Hughes had once been a Labor Prime Minister but had been thrown out of his own party and subsequently led the National Party government with the support of some of Australia’s most conservative members of Parliament.

Gompers and the AFL—compulsory arbitration and the Labor party debate

Rickert’s views were, in fact, identical to those of AFL president Samuel Gompers. While the compulsory arbitration and award system served as the foundation of Australian industrial relations and trade unionism throughout most of the twentieth century, in the United States the AFL, founded under the leadership of Samuel Gompers in 1886, consistently opposed compulsory arbitration. The early AFL was a federation with mainly craft unions, such as the IAM (International Association of Machinists) and other newly emerging crafts; more traditional building trades such as Carpenters and Plumbers; and consumer crafts such as Horseshoing and Cigarmaking (Gompers’ own trade). The AFL also had one major industrial union—the United Mine Workers (UMW)—which recruited members from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, in contrast to the skilled craft unions that were domains solely for white men born in the United States or from Northwest Europe. The UMW generally advocated intervention by the state, including nationalisation of key industries like railroads and mines. Gompers and his main supporters in the skilled trades opposed such state intervention, even though they actively pushed for labor regulations such as shorter hours and improved working conditions (abolition of child labor, for example). Leaders in the UMW and a majority of members supported various forms of labor politics such as affiliation with the Socialist Party or creating a US labor party. Gompers opposed such direct political affiliation by the AFL, just as he opposed state intervention through compulsory arbitration.

There is an important link between Gompers’ opposition to compulsory arbitration, his refusal to support an American labor party affiliated with the AFL, and his overall anti-statist position. He believed in direct negotiations between employer representatives and workers’ union representatives—what came to be known as collective bargaining, but what was termed mediation and conciliation in the early part of the twentieth century: “Disputes between the workers and employers may be generally adjusted by arbitration, but if they are, it will only come when the workers are better organized, when their power and their rights have received greater recognition. The first step must be organization, the second conciliation, and the next possibly, arbitration, but compulsory arbitration—never.”4

US labor historians have identified Gompers’ labor philosophy in a variety of ways, some of them conflicting. He has been described as anti-statist (Julie Greene), voluntarist—that is, independent of politics (Michael Rogin); a business unionist opposed to working-class interests (Philip Foner); a skilled organisational trade unionist (Philip Taft); and a visionary pragmatist (Stuart Kaufman). The revisionist view of Gompers as realist and pragmatists has been advanced by legal historians, like Victoria Hattam, who see him as simply responding to the extreme powers of a judiciary and labor injunctions operating in the interests of big capital.

Even the critical views of Gompers are vastly understated given what American labor could have achieved and what Gompers did to not only prevent this achievement, but also the advancement of US society generally through his influence as America’s pre-eminent labor leader. There were possibilities within the American labor and political situation of the 1890s that Gompers chose not to exploit on behalf of American workers. The massive strike losses of the early 1890s in the United States that included the national Pullman railroad strike and the jailing of leader Eugene Debs (later the leader of the Socialist Party and a major presidential candidate), as well as the Homestead Steel strike defeated by owner Andrew Carnegie, were defeats that paralleled those occurring at the same time in Australia among miners at Broken Hill, shearers, and waterside workers. These defeats left workers and unions in both countries equally devastated, but the responses of union leaders in the two countries were quite opposite. The Australian Miners Association (AMA), the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF) and the Australian Shearers Union (ASU, later the AWU) did not abandon mass organizing of all workers in their industries. In contrast, the AFL unions abandoned the organizing of all steel workers, preferring to recruit only the most skilled tradesmen in the industry. AFL unions repeated this pattern in virtually every industry except coal mining, where the UMW held to an industrial union outlook that encompassed all workers, regardless of status, race, or ethnicity. Gompers was the chief architect of the retreat from mass organizing and concentration on skilled trades workers who were overwhelming better off, white, and English-speaking.

In Australia, the labor movement already supported independent electoral politics of pro-labor candidates, but by the early 1890s this loose labor-oriented political movement coalesced into labor parties based in the various Australian colonies. At the same time there was growing support for arbitration, initially through wages boards but later as a system to compel employers to meet with workers’ union representatives in front of government courts. The rise of the Australian arbitration system and the Australian Labor Party were parallel developments, even though the arbitration system resulted from joint Labor and Liberal initiatives.

In the United States during the 1890s and 1900s, not surprisingly it was the UMW that led the support for independent political action through formation of a labor party, while some UMW locals even supported a socialist party linked to the unions. Some other unions within the AFL and a number of local unions and city labor councils also held this alternative political perspective. They pushed for labor activism in politics—not just in terms of regulatory reform and progressive legislation (which Gompers backed)—but also for an independent labor presence as an independent political party.

One possibility for a broad labor-oriented party that would stand in opposition to both the Democrats and Republics, which Gompers reject, was the rising Populist movement and state Populist parties. Sections of the AFL wanted to form a progressive coalition within a national Populist party allied to other progressive groups among farmers, small businessmen, and professionals. The Populist candidate for president in the early 1890s polled some 1 million votes, clearly a threat to the existing party system. In the South, Populist politics drew together poor whites and blacks in a common coalition—a movement that some believe held back the rising tide of Jim Crow segregation which finally triumphed in the early 1900s following the collapse of Populism. Gompers was instrumental in preventing this political alternative for the 1890s—and can therefore be held partly responsible for the victory of Southern segregation, the destruction of black-white solidarity in the South however fragile this might have been, and what might be called the second holocaust visited on African Americans from the 1900s until the 1960s, when federal civil rights legislation and Justice Department prosecutions began to put an end to lynchings and terror in the South.

Gompers also opposed the growing call for government intervention in industrial relations during the 1890s, specifically the demand for compulsory arbitration that would allow labor and capital to settle their differences peacefully instead of through difficult and bloody strikes. At the 1893 AFL Convention in Chicago, the issue of whether to accept or reject “the principle of arbitration in disputes between employers and employes” was the first point debated—and was defeated. A news account of the Convention summed up the centrality of this first major debate in terms of the labor movement generally: “The convention thus settled in the negative a question which has been argued more than any other connected with the labor problem—a question whose affirmative has been held by many of the ablest labor leaders to be the only solution of that vexed problem.”5 It was at this Convention, too, that the debate between “conservatives” and “socialists” over independent labor politics intensified. Although discussed at length by the editors of the Samuel Gompers papers—and discussed in older biographies of Gompers—this issue has become virtually a forgotten one among labor historians today who write on the AFL.

Gompers was defeated at the December 1894 AFL Convention by John McBride of the UMW, in large part because of socialist delegates’ opposition to Gompers. McBride did not subscribe to a socialist program, but did believe in independent political action, including a labor party. At both the 1894 and 1895 AFL Conventions, the debate over whether the AFL should form or be part of a national labor party was intense, with British trade union and labor party developments constantly serving as background for the discussion. By the time of the December 1895 AFL Convention, McBride was identified as a leader of what contemporaries call “the collectivists”, while Gompers was seen as the leader of the “individualists”. The socialists, on the other hand, apparently stood outside both groups. In a sense, McBride—and the UMW of that time through the present (including their former president, Richard Trumka who is now AFL-CIO national secretary-treasurer)—represented what might be called American “laborism” in the sense that Peter Beilharz has characterised Australian “laborism”.6 Gompers, on the other hand, argued for focusing on the trade unions and independence from political affiliations—but not necessarily withdrawing altogether from political action. Gompers was motivated to run for president again in 1895 not because he wanted to defeat the socialists and socialist program within the AFL (by 1895 he no longer viewed them as a viable threat to the federation), but because he believed the greatest danger came from the collectivists and their advocacy of compulsory arbitration—which went hand in hand with a possible union-affiliated labor party.7 In his own words:

The Federation convention at the end of 1895 was held in New York City. During that year…President McBride had publicly and consistently advocated compulsory arbitration “as a settlement of all labor troubles.” To this policy the trade union movement was emphatically and decidely opposed. McBride’s position on this question alienated a large number of trade unionists from him.…

I was…opposed to allowing compulsory arbitration to constitute one of the tenets of the American labor movement and…prepared a resolution which I introduced in the convention emphasizing our Federation’s opposition to compulsory arbitration which…the convention adopted.…A number of men came to me and urged my acceptance of the candidacy for the presidency of the American Federation of Labor…They finally prevailed upon me, stating that there was no one who stood so unequivocally against compulsion, and that I was, therefore, necessarily the logical candidate in making the contest. Finally, I yielded, and at the convention was elected to the presidency over McBride.8

Gompers maintained his total opposition to compulsory arbitration throughout his career as AFL president. More than any aspect other aspect of the labor movement, it was this issue that defined his philosophy of voluntarism—so often confused (incorrectly) with disdain for political action—but actually a form of labor “individualism” that matches the stereotypical American cultural ideal of individualism. In his Autobiography Gompers summed up his lifelong outlook:

During my entire course I have never attempted to compel anyone to yield to my judgment, much less to my conclusions. There is inherent in every man a resentment against being compelled to do anything. In every contingency or circumstance in which I have had to deal with men, I have found that when a course was presented to them, giving reasons for that position and I appealed to their better judgment to accept that which I advocated, they have voluntarily and gladly accepted my position.9

Gompers’ faith in his individual abilities mirrored his lack of confidence in workers being able to challenge and transform the American state. If his trade union voluntarism was a form of labor individualism, his political voluntarism might be thought of as an endorsement of political institutional fragmentation. In contrast, the Australian labor movement—both in the trade unions and in the ALP—had a vision of political institutional cohesion and confidence, even when facing momentary defeat. It is this persistence and cohesion of the ALP, which seems to constantly reinvent itself even when it is subjected to gross opportunism, division, and electoral losses, that seems to define the startling difference in ethos between American and Australian labor.10 The debate on the Industrial Peace Bill reveals some of this tenacity that characterised the ALP during the twentieth century.

Hughes, the Industrial Peace Bill, and the ALP’s search for its identity

Just as the ALP viewed Prime Minister Hughes as a traitor—a “Labor Rat”—they viewed Gompers in the same light. The 1920s was a time of retreat for the ALP nationally, but in Queensland the ALP held power and transformed the state into a stronghold not only for the party but for the AWU, which effectively was the party through its extensive union leadership networks. At the Federal level, TJ Ryan became deputy leader of the opposition after serving as Queensland’s Labor Premier. EJ (“Red Ted”) Theodore took his place and made an even bigger impact on Queensland, transforming it into Australia’s first welfare state and anticipating welfare and public ownership reforms not seen nationally until the mid- to late-1940s.

The AWU’s Queensland newspaper, The Worker (Brisbane), published scathing accounts on Gompers even as it vehemently defended Australia’s arbitration system and the idea of moderate socialism. For The Worker (Brisbane) Gompers and Hughes represented the same interests—that of capital, not labour.

Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, Theodore wrote regularly for the AWU paper, spelling out not only Labor’s program and actions, but also his own evolving Labor philosophy. When he was elected to Federal Parliament he encountered rivalry from Arthur Blakeley a fellow former AWU officer who came from New South Wales (and who also had been a bridge partner of Theodore’s). Blakeley played a leading role in attacking Hughes’ Industrial Peace Bill, and his views represented the mainstream not only of the ALP, but also of its most powerful union constituent, the AWU.

In opposing Prime Minister Billy Hughes’ Industrial Peace Bill, the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party reaffirmed its identity as an arm—and political leader—of Australia’s working class movement. Hughes, as party leader when first elected, had subsequently torn apart the ALP—not just in terms of members holding office, but also in the confidence within the party and among its supporters in the trade unions. The AWU, at the time the backbone of the ALP and among the core leaders who opposed conscription during World War I, viewed not only Hughes but the breakaway New South Wales National Labor group under Premier Holman, and later Storey, as traitors.

During the time that Prime Minister Hughes raised his plan to substantially alter the arbitration system, the Broken Hill miners’ strike had been underway for half a year. MP Mick Considine (Barrier) passionately called for a Commonwealth Royal Commission to investigate further the terrible conditions at Broken Hill, including lead poisoning that claimed the highest infant mortality rate in Australia. This broader inquiry encompassing not only the workers but the community at large had not been conducted by an earlier New South Wales Royal Commission which focused fairly narrowly just on the workers. MP Laird Smith, speaking for the Hughes government, rebutted Considine’s motion before Parliament by stating that the State Royal Commission had in fact been conducted by a Labor government—implying that this was Considine’s own party: “If the honorable member for Barrier had any faith in the New South Wales Government, he would have withdrawn the notice of motion…There is a Government in New South Wales representing the official Labour [sic] party.” Labor MP Hector Lamond interjected, “And renegades—do not forget them.” Labor MP Maloney later interrupted, “This is a question of the health of the miners of the Barrier and their wives and children. Has the New South Wales election any bearing on the welfare and health of these men and women?” MP Laird Smith cooly replied, “…The honorable member [Considine] who introduced this motion has asked for a Royal Commission, and it is with that request I have dealt, and not with the number of lives that are lost, and so forth.”11

Laird Smith’s response to Labor was predictable, but in this debate the Federal ALP reaffirmed its stand with the workers against those who came from Labor (Hughes and Holman) who now held political power because they allied with conservative and business interests who were vehemently anti-union. By attacking former ALP leaders who had deserted the party’s principles, Labor MPs were reaffirming both the party’s class position (however weak it often was in practice) and its discipline, which gave it cohesion and continuity over time. In the Broken Hill debate, the issue clearly involved defending working-class interests versus bureaucratic power callously used against workers. In Considine’s words, “Are we not here to look after the lives and health and interests of the people of Australia?”—to which Hughes ally Sir Robert Best answered, “Only regarding matters within our jurisdiction; this is a State [New South Wales] matter.” Considine later responded, “The [Broken Hill mining companies’] dividends, I might truthfully say, have been wrung out of the corpses of the miners and of their chidren.”12

The irony of Considine’s arguments on behalf of the Broken Hill miners is that this group and their unions withdrew from the arbitration system in the mid-1920s, opting instead for direct collective bargaining along the American lines advocated by Gompers. Other unions, such as the coal miners, were totally disenchanted with the system because of long delays and manipulation by companies. When Prime Minister Hughes introduced his Industrial Peace Bill on July 29, 1920, he acknowledged the discontent of workers and unions over the long delays. He proposed establishing special tribunals that would have the power to settle current disputes not before the Industrial Court. The ALP attacked the Bill because it did not exclude non-registered unions, thereby undermining the arbitration system’s reliance on permanent Court judges and acknowledged registered unions. The coal mining union supported Hughes on this Bill, but Industrial Court President, Justice Higgins was so enraged by it that he immediately offered his resignation. He later wrote “A New Province of Law and Order” as a response to Hughes’ initiative.13

Justice Higgins and the ALP shared similar criticisms of Hughes’ attempt to alter compulsory arbitration. Both feared that it was a ploy to destroy the Industrial Court, to weaken legitimate trade unions, and to get rid of Higgins, whom Hughes had come to view as an obstacle to change. Labor MP Blakeley (Darling) argued:

It is of no use for any body to imagine that the Arbitration Court will remain in existance after this Bill has been passed. There will be no such thing as the Arbitration Court.…These tribunals will be a motley collection, got together by the Prime Minister himself. The Bill does not provide for the representation of trade union organizations. If there is a “scab” organization, if there is a small body of men acting in conjunction with the employers, it will be called upon to appoint its reprentatives on the tribunal. But bona fide organizations will find themselves outside.…The Government [is] after all…out not so much to kill the Act itself as to settle the man behind it; I refer to Mr. Justice Higgins. I warn the Government that unless they have the trade unionists behind them, in agreement upon this measure, it will never work.14

The Bill was passed, with Labor voting as a bloc against it. Blakeley’s words proved prophetic, however. Hughes did not try to use tribunals to replace the Industrial Court, and subsequent efforts to destroy the arbitration system as a permanent institution, such as the Bruce-Page Government’s referendum a few years later, failed.


Even in our own era, efforts by the conservative Coalition Howard government to destroy this system were prevented, and in the case of the MUA-Patrick’s dispute of 1998, were stopped dead in their tracks both by the union movement (and its supporters in Australia and internationally) and the judicial system (which included the Industrial Commission). Australia’s labour culture has encompassed far more than a labour ethos and stereotypical notions of working-class solidarity and mateship, even though these are significant. It has been a living institutional culture combining trade unions, a political party based in the unions (the ALP), and permanent state institutions that have afforded a relatively equal hearing for workers and employers, however imperfect, limited, at times bureaucratic, and in earlier eras excluding of women and workers of non-European ancestry. This institutional persistance of labour culture has served in many ways as a foundation for the continued existence of the Australian Labor Party, a party who viability can be measured by its success in holding state and federal power since the 1900s.

The failure of the American labour movement to build and sustain a labor party has been due not just to a historically anti-labor judiciary; extreme powers of capital; violence regularly carried out against strikers; deep racial, ethnic, and regional divisions; and a heavily bankrolled two party—winner-takes-all political system. These have been great obstacles, but there have been possibilities for a labor alternative—an American labor party based in the trade union movement. Such potential, most evident between 1890 and the 1920s, was thrown thrown away by leaders like Samuel Gompers of the AFL. These American labor officials not only failed to understand the positive aspects of the compulsory arbitration system—most evident as it was practiced in Australia. They also failed to fully understand the requirement for labour to build and maintain permanent institutions—not just in terms of trade unions, but also as independent political parties and institutions within the state itself.


1 President, United Garment Workers of America [Thomas A. Rickert] to H. E. Clagete, Feb. 18, 1922, Samuel Gompers papers (microfilm), Reel 106: Files of the Office of the President, General Correspondence, Jan. 21-Dec. 1922.
2 The original Hughes quote is in Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, Session 1920-21, Senate and House of Representatives, Vol. XCI (26 Feb to May 1920) (Victoria: Government of the Commonwealth of Australia), April 14, 1920, pp. 1133-34. Rickert’s letter incorrectly dates Hughes remarks to March 1920.
3 Philip Taft, The AF of L in the Time of Gompers (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1957), pp. 181-2.
4 Samuel Gompers in AFL, Proceedings of the National Convention (Denver), 1894, p. 15, as quoted in Stuart B. Kaufman and Peter J. Albert, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, Vol. 3—Unrest and Depression, 1891-94 (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1989), p. 304. The characterization of Gompers’ labor philosophy as antistatist is developed in Julie Greene, Pure and Simple Politics: The American Federation of Labor and Political Activism, 1881-1917 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
5 Kaufman and Albert, Gompers Papers, Vol. 3, “Excerpts from News Accounts of the 1893 Convention of the AFL in Chicago, Dec. 12, 1893,” pp. 426-8.
6 See Peter Beilharz, Transforming Labor: Labour Tradition and the Labor Decade in Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
7 For the identification of collectivist, individualist, and socialist AFL factions and leaders, see “Excerpts from Accounts of the 1895 Convention of the AFL in New York City, Dec. 11, 1895,” in Stuart B. Kaufman, Peter J. Albert, and Grace Palladino, eds., The Samuel Gompers Papers, Vol. 4—A National Labor Movement Takes Shape, 1895-98 (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1991), p. 92. For McBride’s practical notion of independent labor politics, see Taft, The AF of L in the Time of Gompers, p. 128.
8 Samuel Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labour: An Autobiography, vol. I (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967 reprint of original 1925 edition), pp. 370-371.
9 Samuel Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labour: An Autobiography, vol. II (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967 reprint of original 1925 edition), p. 138.
10 See Stuart Macintyre, “’Temper Democratic, Bias Australian’: One hundred years of the Australian Labor Party,” Overland (162), Autumn 2001, pp. 4-12.
11 Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, Session 1920-21, Senate and House of Representatives , Vol. XCI (26 Feb. to May 1920) (Victoria: Government of the Commonwealth of Australia), April 29, 1920, pp. 1623-1632.
12 Ibid., p. 1629.
13 L. F. Fitzhardinge, The Little Digger, 1914-1952: William Morris Hughes, A Political Biography—Volume II (Angus & Robertson, 1979), pp. 441-44; Henry Bournes Higgins, A New Province of Law and Order (Sydney: Workers Education Association of NSW, 1922).
14 Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Debates, Session 1920-21, Senate and House of Representatives , Vol. XCI (5 May to 19 Aug., 1920) (Victoria: Government of the Commonwealth of Australia), 4 Aug., 1920, pp. 3225-26.