Men Is Cheap shows that in the process of winning the war, Northerners were forced to grapple with the frauds of free labor. Labor brokers, by helping to staff the Union military and Yankee households, did indispensable work that helped the Northern state and Northern employers emerge victorious. They also gave rise to an economic and political system that enriched the managerial class at the expense of laborers--a reality that resonates to this day.
Related collections and offers
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
Brian P. Luskey has written a highly original and extremely compelling account of how the Civil War, a war fought for freedom, ultimately undermined and narrowed what freedom meant in the United States. A beautifully crafted, closely argued work.Rosanne Currarino, author of The Labor Question in America: Economic Democracy in the Gilded Age
A masterful work of historical research. Centering his story on a wide-ranging cast of brokers, speculators, merchants, soldiers, and formerly enslaved people, Brian Luskey examines deep flaws in the system of free labor at the very moment when it was supposed to deliver the nation from the oppression of chattel bondage. Luskey leaves no doubt that the Civil War marked a critical shift in the history of American labor and capitalism. Men Is Cheap is an eye-opening and absorbing read."—Amy Murrell Taylor, author of Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War's Slave Refugee Camps