Anthony DeStefanis was born in raised in Providence, Rhode Island, earning his BA in history and political science at Rhode Island College, and completing his MA and PhD in history at the College of William and Mary.
Dr. DeStefanis specializes in modern U.S. history with an emphasis on labor and the working class and immigration, race, and ethnicity. His research uses the Colorado National Guard and the 1913-14 southern Colorado coal strike as case studies to examine military strikebreaking. Dr. DeStefanis charts the development of both Colorado’s mining industry and the Colorado National Guard to understand how the confluence of capital’s growing power, cultural politics, and the imperatives of state building created a state with a formidable National Guard that was willing to break strikes as well as state officials who continually used the Guard as a club against striking workers. He also examines how fighting the Plains Indians and service in the Philippines shaped the Colorado National Guard’s understanding of strike duty.
Modernity and Its Discontents: Working People, the Labor Movement, and the State
This talk examines how working people responded to the rapid and wrenching changes that the Second Industrial Revolution wrought in American society from the end of the Civil War through the early 20th century.
The Road to Ludlow: Breaking the 1913-14 Southern Colorado Coal Strike
The 1913-14 southern Colorado coal strike lasted for fifteen months and was one of the most violent labor conflicts in U.S. history. It produced the Ludlow Massacre in which two women, twelve children ranging in age from three months to eleven years, six miners and union officials, and one National Guardsman were killed in a day-long battle between the Colorado National Guard and residents of a tent colony that the United Mine Workers of America built when striking mine workers were thrown out of company-owned housing. The National Guard also burned the tent colony to the ground.
This talk examines how the Colorado National Guard acted to break this strike and in the process created the conditions that led to the Ludlow Massacre.
A New Deal for Labor
Examines how the relationship between labor unions and government and employers and government changed as a result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. This talk charts how and why the federal government became a mediator in disputes between employers on one side and workers and their unions on the other.
Rusted Dreams: The American Working Class from the 1970s to the Eras of Obama and Trump
This talk examines both de-industrialization and de-unionization beginning in the 1970s to explain the income and wealth inequality that prevails in the United States today. This talk also examines the American working class over the last decade to explain how and why the white working class came to support President Trump.
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