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Belated Feudalism : Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States - Karen Orren

Belated Feudalism

Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States

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Published: 31st January 1992
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Traditional and still-dominant theories of American political development depict the American state as a thoroughly liberal state from its very inception. Karen Orren challenges that account by arguing that a remnant of ancient feudalism was, in fact, embedded in the American governmental system, in the form of the law of master and servant, and persisted until well into the twentieth century. The law of master and servant was, she reveals, incorporated in the US Constitution and administered from democratic politics. The fully legislative polity that defines the modern liberal state was achieved in America, Orren argues, only through the initiatives of the labor movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was finally ushered in as part of the processes of collective bargaining instituted by the New Deal. This book represents a fundamental reinterpretation of constitutional change in the United States and of the role of American organized labor, which is shown to be a creator of liberalism, rather than a spoiler of socialism.

'I have always insisted that political science had a lot more to say about economic history. My best confirmation comes from Karen Orren. Her forcefully written book brings an entirely new perspective to the place of labor in the United States and goes beyond that to fresh insights on corporate capitalism itself.' Theodore J. Lowi, Cornell University Belated Feudalism is a stunning reinterpretation of the American political order as a whole. Labor and law are avenues to a broad vista. Orren reconceptualizes the logic of American political development, the relation of public and private in American politics, and the place of labor history in American political history. On all of these dimensions, one cannot read this book without having one's views shaken up and permanently altered.' Jeffrey K. Tulis, University of Texas, Austin 'Orren's argument is extremely original, it is innovative and it is highly intriguing. She presents her point of view with verve and style. The book will be controversial and, as such, attract wide attention.' Christopher Tomlins, American Bar Foundation

Prefacep. ix
Introduction: liberalism and labor in developmental perspectivep. 1
The absence-of-feudalism argumentp. 5
Liberalism, capitalism, and wage laborp. 9
Out of the circle of liberalismp. 15
The primacy of laborp. 19
The labor tradition in liberalismp. 24
The transition to liberalism and the remnant of American laborp. 29
Feudal dismantling and the statep. 30
From judicial to legislative governancep. 33
Liberalism: the art of demolitionp. 40
Legislative sovereignty and its limitsp. 46
The English imprint on American lawp. 55
The American codification movementp. 62
Belated feudalism: the order of the workplace in late-nineteenth-century Americap. 68
The order of laborp. 71
The judicial governance of master and servantp. 79
Relative libertyp. 91
The province of workp. 102
The province and the republicp. 111
The old order and collective actionp. 118
The template of enticementp. 122
Contract breakingp. 128
The peaceable boycottp. 135
"Outside of the province of working men"p. 145
"A new technical channel"p. 154
Masters, servants, and the new American statep. 160
Railroad rates and labor costsp. 164
The economy of speedp. 173
"A clear line"p. 182
Regulation by anachronismp. 189
A new American statep. 198
"Actual conditions and practicable measures"p. 204
Conclusion: the state of liberalismp. 209
Full legislative sovereigntyp. 211
The diffusion of legislative formsp. 215
Legislative polity and administrative statep. 218
Labor politics pure and simplep. 221
Myths old and newp. 227
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521410397
ISBN-10: 0521410398
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 252
Published: 31st January 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.54