Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic is a fundamental reinterpretation of law and politics in America between 1790 and 1850, the crucial period of the Republic's early growth and its movement toward industrialism. The book is the most detailed study yet available of the intellectual and institutional processes that created the foundation categories framing all the basic legal relationships involving working people at work. But it also brings out the political and social significance of those categories, and of law's role in their creation. Tomlins argues that it is impossible to understand outcomes in the interaction between law and labor during the early Republic unless one also understands the preeminence that legal discourse was assuming at the time in American society as a whole, and the particular social and political reasons for that preeminence. Because of the breadth and novelty of its interpretation this is a book not just for those interested in the history of law or the history of labor, but for anyone interested in the broad stream of American political and social history.
"Characterized by the same impeccable research and analytical rigor as the State and the Unions, Tomlin's latest work will rank as one of the authoritative treatments of labor law doctrine in 19th-century American jurisprudence...Law, Labor, and Ideology is an accomplished work of scholarship. It takes up diverse themes and bodies of research and integrates them into a coherent, elegant whole." Raymond L. Hogler, Labor History "...a truly major contribution to our understanding of law, labor, and ideology in antebellum America." Peter Karsten, Reviews in American History "Christopher L. Tomlin's Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic is a groundbreaking and often dazzling work by a leading practitioner of 'critical legal studies.'...This penetrating book is required reading for students of the antebellum United States. It enriches our store of information, advances legal theory, and moves the law from an afterthought to an active force that shaped the course of the first industrial revolution." Bruce Laurie, Journal of American History "Tomlin's scholarly exposition...transcends the labor question and illuminates the political, social, and economic history of the early republic." Ronald L. Filippelli, American Historical Review "For a more focused and systematic discussion of the relationship between anticapitalist sentiment and antebellum conflict over 'the constituent institutions and values that comprise a working system,' one could not do better than Tomlin's extraordinary book, Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic...Tomlin's conceptualizations, and these elaborations, along with his graceful prose, leave little doubt as to what he means to say..." Howard Gillman, Legal Studies Forum "...a powerful and important corrective to the traditional liberal story...It is an enormously rich and nuanced study, a gold mine of information and insight, a dazzlng achievement from which anyone interested in the history of law and labor will come away with a comprehensive education." Robert J. Steinfeld, William and Mary Quarterly