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Coercion, Contract, and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century : Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society - Robert J. Steinfeld

Coercion, Contract, and Free Labor in the Nineteenth Century

Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society

Hardcover Published: 19th April 2001
ISBN: 9780521773607
Number Of Pages: 342

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This book presents a fundamental reassessment of the nature of wage labor in the nineteenth century, focusing on the use of sanctions to enforce wage labor agreements. Professor Steinfeld argues that wage workers were not employees at will but were often bound to their employment by enforceable labor agreements, which employers used whenever available to manage their labor costs and supply. Modern free wage labor only came into being late in the nineteenth century, as a result of reform legislation that restricted the contract remedies employers could legally use.

Industry Reviews

'With his comprehensive histories of 'free' labour, Professor Robert J. Steinfeld ... unsettles the economistic equation of the market economy as a self-regulating system with individual autonomy of its citizens.' Scandinavian Economic History Review 'Much of this book is about English legal history, in the sense that it discusses the shifting views of courts about the contractual powers of employers and workers, and the arguments by which legislation was introduced and chanted ... A fascinating account is given of the shift that occurred during the mid-nineteenth century from long term contracts enforced by criminal penalties to open-ended 'minute' contracts with agreed periods of notice ... The important message today of this persuasive study is that the weakening of trade unions, and the revival of the myths of labour flexibility, may lead to the erosion of the freedom of employment contracts.' Labour History Review 'A fascinating account is given of the shift that occurred during the mid- nineteenth century from long-term contracts enforced by criminal penalties to open-ended minute' contracts with agreed periods of notice ... The important message today of this persuasive study is that the weakening of trade unions, and the revival of the myths of labour flexibility, may lead to the erosion of the freedom of employment contracts.' Labour History Review

Introduction: free wage labor in the history of the West
American Contract Labor and English Wage Labor
The Use of Pecuniary and Nonpecuniary Pressure
'Free' contract labor in the United States: an anti-essentialist view of labor types I
'Unfree' wage labor in nineteenth-century England: an anti-essentialist view of labor types II
Explaining the legal content of English wage labor
Struggles over the rules: the Common Law Courts, parliament, the people, and the master and servant acts
Struggles under the rules: strategic behavior and historical change in legal context
Struggles to change the rules
Freedom of contract and freedom of person
'Free' and 'Unfree' Labor in the United States
'Involuntary servitude' in American fundamental law
Labor contract enforcement in the American north
Conclusion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521773607
ISBN-10: 0521773601
Series: Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 342
Published: 19th April 2001
Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PR
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 2.24
Weight (kg): 0.67

Earn 424 Qantas Points
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