Belated Feudalism: Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States / Edition 1

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Although traditional theories depict the American state as thoroughly liberal from its very inception, this study refutes those views by isolating a remnant of feudal social structure within the judiciary system.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The author...provides a carefully wrought and provocative argument that opposes the central tenets of American 'exceptionalism.'" Harvard Law Review

"...a brilliant tour de force..." Staughton Lynd, The Journal of American History

"Belated Feudalism is a provocative and highly original work of critical legal history on class formation and political development. Its underlying lesson--no labor, no liberalism--simultaneously challenges the restraining myths of America's pristine past and alerts us to the possiblities of a more democratic future." Contemporary Sociology

"Orren provides a useful guide to the application of master-and-servant doctrine to the changing work environment and she raises challenging points about the role of labor in creating the undercarriage of the post-New Deal institutional order. These are significant contributions." Reviews in American History

"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, The University of Texas at Austin

"Orren's insight about the persistence of feudal relations in the workplace is a stunning way of accounting for the subservience that characterized employers' expectations and workers' drudgery." Wythe Holt, Labor History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521422543
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 1,451,323
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: liberalism and labor in developmental perspective 1
The absence-of-feudalism argument 5
Liberalism, capitalism and wage labor 9
Out of the circle of liberalism 15
The primacy of labor 19
The labor tradition in liberalism 24
2 The transition to liberalism and the remnant of American labor 29
Feudal dismantling and the state 30
From judicial to legislative governance 33
Liberalism: the art of demolition 40
Legislative sovereignty and its limits 46
The English imprint on American law 55
The American codification movement 62
3 Belated feudalism: the order of the workplace in late- nineteenth-century America 68
The order of labor 71
The judicial governance of master and servant 79
Relative liberty 91
The province of work 102
The province and the republic 111
4 The old order and collective action 118
The template of enticement 122
Contract breaking 128
The peaceable boycott 135
"Outside of the province of working men" 145
"A new technical channel" 154
5 Masters, servants, and the new American state 160
Railroad rates and labor costs 164
The economy of speed 173
"A clear line" 182
Regulation by anachronism 189
A new American state 198
"Actual conditions and practicable measures" 204
6 Conclusion: the state of liberalism 209
Full legislative sovereignty 211
The diffusion of legislative forms 215
Legislative polity and administrative state 218
Labor politics pure and simple 221
Myths old and new 227
Index 231
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