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Common Labor: Workers and the Digging of North American Canals, 1780-1860 Paperback

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Common Labor: Workers and the Digging of North American Canals, 1780-1860 + Attitudes Toward Sex in Antebellum America: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford Series in History & Culture)
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Editorial Reviews


A provocative analysis of labor, social, and transportation history in our early national period.

(Journal of Southern History)

Extremely valuable... Well conceived, researched, and written.

(Journal of Social History)

Way's study of canal work and workers has filled a major empty spot in economic history.

(Journal of Economic History)

A major addition to the study of North American canals, describing who dug them, how they were dug, and under what conditions of labor.

(American Canals)

Book Description

Canal construction played a significant role in the rise of industrial America opening up new markets, employing an army of workers, and initiating the ties between capital and government that remain important to this day. In this highly acclaimed study, Peter Way challenges conventional views of the part these workers played in the early republic and of the culture they created. Common Labour traces a dark picture of powerlessness, depravity, and rage in the lives of America's canal diggers.

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