Citizen Worker: The Experience of Workers in the United States with Democracy and the Free Market during the Nineteenth Century / Edition 1

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In the 1990s, democracy and market freedom are often discussed as though they were synonymous or interchangeable. What the experience of workers in the United States actually reveals is that as government became more democratic, what it could do to shape daily life became more restricted. This original and significant work examines the relationship between workers and government by focusing not on the legal regulations of unions and strikes, but on popular struggles for citizens' rights. The extent and failures of workers' efforts to exercise power through political parties provide insights from the nineteenth century to guide our thinking about the twenty-first.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" important contribution to American labor history that no student or scholar in the field will want to miss." Ohio History

"To understand the ideological and social transformations at work in that era one could have no better guide than David Montgomery, the nation's foremost labor historian, whose scholarship and commitment have inspired an entire generation of social historians. Montgomery's book is short but rich, full of explosive insights and subtle distinctions. A master of his trade, he synthesizes an enormous body of scholarship to explain a great historical paradox....Citizen Worker is one of those books that remind us of the questions we have forgotten how to ask....Answers are hard to come by, but David Montgomery's meticulous scholarship and radical sensibility get us started in the right direction." Nelson Lichtenstein, The Nation

"No one knows the world of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century worker better than Montgomery...Montgomery gives us a vivid picture of the nineteenth century...Montgomery provides a sweeping analysis of the changing conditions of workers' lives, with detailed nuances that capture daily situations. Significant analysis coupled with pithy examples enrich this book...let me also say this book did speak to me...Montgomery reminds us of our legacy." Comptes rendus

"Citizen Worker is an extraordinarily significant work. It asks big questions, frames them in the largest perspectives, and answers them with great historical imagination and deep knowledge of the American past." Ira Berlin, The University of Maryland

" with most good history, its value resides in the details. Every aspect of his argument is backed up with bundles of fitting quotes and anecdotes." Washington Post

"...masterful account of the development of the free market economy... Montgomery's provocative and persuasive synthesis is a major contribution to historians' understanding of the 19th century. But the book's importance goes well betond the academic arena...Citizen Worker is a springboard for thinking about the market economy and the relationship between political and economic democracy." Union Labor News

"The fundamental strength of this book lies in its capacity to recast the experience of nineteenth-century workers within a questioning that is at once elegantly simple and enticingly all-encompassing....No compressed summary can do justice to this book. It needs to be read, and reread, and its immersion in the texture of working-class life appreciated." Bryan D. Palmer, Journal of American History

"...distinguished by an uncompromising insistence on the human costs of capitalism....this historian's work retains the power to convince, and by convincing to move." Stuart M. Blumin, Industrial and Labor Relations Review

" is a seedbed for the eventual flowering of people's culture." Ray B. Browne, Journal of American Culture

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521483803
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 189
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Wage-Labor, Bondage and Citizenship: 1. The Right to Quit; 2. Free Labor in the Shadow of Slavery; 3. Quitting and Getting Paid; 4. Citizenship and the Terms of Employment; Part II. Policing People for the Free Market: 5. The Definition and Prosecution of Crime; 6. The Privatization of Poor Relief; 7. The Crime of Idleness; 8. Arms and the Man; 9. Police Powers and Workers' Homes; Part III. Political Parties: 10. Black Workers and Republicans in the South; 11. Industrial Workers and Party Politics; 12. Workers and Tammany Hall; 13. Labor Reform and Electoral Politics; 14. Citizenship and the Unseen Hand; Bibliography.

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