Document Type

Undergraduate Research Paper

Publication Date


Paper Status


Faculty Nominator

Charles Williams


The Wagner Act has been a controversial piece of legislation since its inception and remains so today. It is tied to both the legal legitimization of unions as well as the eventual decline of union membership. Regardless of its merits, the fact that such a radical piece of legislation was successfully passed and institutionalized during the tumultuous 1930s proves to be an interesting subject of study. This leads to the question this essay will explore: how was the Wagner Act passed and which forces were instrumental in its development? Several important pieces in the scholarly debate over this issue will be reviewed. This essay aims to highlight the complex ways in which different interest groups and politicians bargained and interacted, ultimately culminating in the Wagner Act of 1935. [From the introduction]