This introductory chapter presents new understandings of manufacturing's main lobbyist and trade association, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). To understand how a conservative, anti-union organization can also be seen as progressive, the chapter first takes a look at its background as it considers how disorganized and chaotic US capitalism was at the end of the nineteenth century, when NAM was founded. In addition to examining NAM's role in organizing and globalizing capitalism, the chapter explores how it worked, who it represented, and how effective it was as a lobbyist. It also identifies NAM's many internal tensions. Furthermore, the chapter identifies the economic, ideological, and institutional concerns that drove NAM actors, as these offer insight into the evolving political taxonomies of our own day.
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