Free to Work: Labor Law, Emancipation, and Reconstruction, 1815-1880

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University of Georgia Press, 1998 - History - 331 pages
In this intriguing and innovative work, James D. Schmidt examines federal efforts to establish "free labor" in the South during and after the Civil War by exploring labor law in the antebellum North and South and its role in the development of a capitalist labor market. Identifying the emergence of conservative, moderate, and liberal stances on state intervention in the labor market, Schmidt develops three important case studies--wartime Reconstruction in Louisiana, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the Freedmen's Bureau--to conclude that the reconstruction of free labor in the South failed in large part because of the underdeveloped and contradictory state of labor law. The same legal principles, Schmidt argues, triumphed in the postwar North to produce a capitalist market in labor.
 

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Contents

The Right to Quit7
7
Northern Principles Go South
93
The Mutation of FreeLabor Law
122
Southern Reactions and Reformulations
165
The Northern Reconstruction of FreeLabor Law
194
CONCLUSION
237
Bibliography301
301
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About the author (1998)

James D. Schmidt is an assistant professor of history at Northern Illinois University.

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