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Description - Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor by James D. Schmidt

Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor challenges existing understandings of child labor by tracing how law altered the meanings of work for young people in the United States between the Revolution and the Great Depression. Rather than locating these shifts in statutory reform or economic development, it finds the origin in litigations that occurred in the wake of industrial accidents incurred by young workers. Drawing on archival case records from the Appalachian South between the 1880s and the 1920s, the book argues that young workers and their families envisioned an industrial childhood that rested on negotiating safe workplaces, a vision at odds with child labor reform. Local court battles over industrial violence confronted working people with a legal language of childhood incapacity and slowly moved them to accept the lexicon of child labor. In this way, the law fashioned the broad social relations of modern industrial childhood.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521198653
ISBN-10: 0521198658
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 21mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 8-Mar-2010
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - James D. Schmidt

James D. Schmidt is Associate Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. His first book, Free to Work (1998), examined the relationship between labor law and the meanings of freedom during the age of emancipation. He teaches courses on the history of law, capitalism, childhood, and the United States in the long nineteenth century.