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The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law / Edition 1

The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law / Edition 1

by John Fabian Witt


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674022614
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/30/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

John Fabian Witt is Professor of Law and History, Columbia University.

Table of Contents


1. Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Crisis of Free Labor

2. The Dilemmas of Classical Tort Law

3. The Cooperative Insurance Movement

4. From Markets to Managers

5. Widows, Actuaries, and the Logics of Social Insurance

6. The Passion of William Werner

7. The Accidental Republic





What People are Saying About This

Viviana Zelizer

John Witt shows us the power of perceptive legal history at work. Within the tangle of compensation for industrial accidents, he discovers not only a legal struggle whose outcome set the pattern for many 20th century interventions of government in economic life, but also a momentous confrontation between contract and collective responsibility. Anyone who finds American history absorbing will gain pleasure and insight from this book.
Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University, author of The Social Meaning of Money:
Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief, and Other Currencies

William Novak

In 1940 Willard Hurst and Lloyd Garrison inaugurated modern socio-legal studies in the United States with their history of workers' injuries and legal process in Wisconsin. Two generations later, John Fabian Witt's The Accidental Republic marks the full maturation of that field of inquiry. Deftly integrating a legal analysis of tort doctrine, a history of industrial accidents, and a fresh political-economic understanding of statecraft, Witt demonstrates the significance of turn-of-the-century struggles over work, injury, risk, reparation, and regulation in the making of our modern world. Sophisticated, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary, The Accidental Republic is legal history as Hurst and Garrison imagined it could be.
William Novak, The University of Chicago, author of The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America

Peter H. Schuck

John Witt paints his portrait of industrializing America with the subtlety of a master and on an immense canvas. His magisterial history is much more than an account of the rise of workers compensation, still one of our greatest social reforms. Witt vividly recreates the social context of the late 19th century industrial world - workers' appalling injury and death rates, their mutual help and insurance associations, mass immigration, the rise of Taylorist management, the struggles to give new meaning to the free labor ideal, the encounter between European social engineering and American anti-statism and individualism, and the politics and economics of labor relations in the Progressive era. Out of these materials, Witt shows, the law helped fashion a new social order. His analysis has great contemporary significance, revealing both the alluring possibilities and the enduring limits of legal reform in America. It is destined to become a classic of social and legal history.
Peter H. Schuck, author of Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance

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