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Scholarship on American labor politics has been dominated by the view that the American Federation of Labor, the leading labor organization in the earliest twentieth century, rejected political action in favor of economic strategies. Based on extensive research into labor and political party records, this study demonstrates that, in fact, the AFL devoted great attention to political activity. The organization's main strategy, however, which Julie Greene calls "pure and simple politics," dictated that trade unionists alone should shape American labor politics. Exploring the period from 1881 to 1917, Pure and Simple Politics focuses on the quandaries this approach generated for American trade unionists.