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Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement

3 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674517820
ISBN-10: 0674517822
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A very distinguished work...Forbath derives bold and original conclusions...and is sensitive to the political and social context in which law functions...His book is right and relevant today. (Lance Liebman, Harvard Law School)

This work is nothing less than a full-scale reinterpretation of the making of American pure-and-simple unionism. Forbath's book is certain to provoke lively and health-giving debate; it will be required reading for all students of American labor history. (David Brody, University of California, Davis)

In this admirable synthesis of legal and social history, Forbath reconstructs in brilliant detail the bitter drama of the most violent years of U.S. labor relations, the era of the labor injunction...It effectively replaces Frankfurter and Greene's classic of 1930 on labor injunctions as the standard work on the subject. (Robert W. Gordon, School of Law, Stanford University)

Review

A very distinguished work...Forbath derives bold and original conclusions...and is sensitive to the political and social context in which law functions...His book is right and relevant today.
--Lance Liebman, Harvard Law School --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (May 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674517822
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674517820
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I am being forced to read this for a class on American Legal History. It is insightful and the arguments are compelling. The labor movement in the US was influenced to a great degree by the judiciary during the end of the 19th century. Court action changed the character of the labor movement from one of broad social reform to fragmented trade unionism and "Voluntarism." Voluntarism became predominant in labor's legal pretext, in part, due to:
1. "...the courts... principally determined how labor legislation, once passed, would fare."
2. Those legal victores for labor (Sherman Anti-Trust Act 1890, etc;) benefitted the institutions that labor was trying to protect itself from.
3. The courts repeatedly upheld "freedom of contract" arguments in In re Jacobs, Ritchie v. People, etc;
4. Judiciary attacked the economic weapons of labor: city-wide boycotts, symapthy strikes, etc;

Labor (AFL, Gompers, etc;) eventually asked for independent labor relations i.e., freedom to negotiate contracts without government intervention...

I believe that sums it up fairly well, but as a fair warning, this book is academic and painfully boring. If given a choice between hammering my balls flat or rereading this book, I would be forced to make a difficult decision indeed.
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