Sidney Hillman, Labor Statesman

Sidney Hillman, Labor Statesman

Sidney Hillman, Labor Statesman

Sidney Hillman, Labor Statesman

Excerpt

One reason why people like to read the life stories of pub- lic men is to understand how they achieved success, and to participate imaginatively in the discouragements and triumphs of a hero. Success-stories have been especially popular in the United States, though their type has changed from period to period. Whereas Americans used to be primarily interested in following the rise of George Washington from surveyor to commanding general of the Revolutionary Army, or of Abraham Lincoln from rail- splitter to Emancipator of the slaves, they have recently appeared to be more fascinated by accounts of those who began as clerks, newsboys or salesmen and rose to be executives of great corporations or multi-millionaires. If one were recounting the life of Sidney Hillman as a successstory, it would be a striking one indeed, but of still another type. It would be that of a boy who, fleeing from the persecutions and miseries of Tsarist Russia to a land of liberal ideals, came into prominence not through pursuing a stereotyped career or amassing wealth and power, but in leading, first a few hundreds of his fellow-workers and then millions of others into a fuller life and a broader participation in the tasks of modern society. It was a search, not . . .

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