Belated Feudalism: Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States

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Cambridge University Press, 1991 - Political Science - 238 pages
Traditional theories of American political development depict the American state as a thoroughly liberal state from its very inception. In this book, first published in 1992, Karen Orren challenges that account by arguing that a remnant of ancient feudalism was, in fact, embedded in the American governmental system, in the form of the law of master and servant, and persisted until well into the twentieth century. The law of master and servant was, she reveals, incorporated in the US Constitution and administered from democratic politics. The fully legislative polity that defines the modern liberal state was achieved in America, Orren argues, only through the initiatives of the labor movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was finally ushered in as part of the processes of collective bargaining instituted by the New Deal. This book represents a fundamental reinterpretation of constitutional change in the United States and of the role of American organized labor, which is shown to be a creator of liberalism, rather than a spoiler of socialism.
 

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Contents

Introduction liberalism and labor in developmental perspective
1
The absenceoffeudalism argument
5
Liberalism capitalism and wage labor
9
Out of the circle of liberalism
15
The primacy of labor
19
The labor tradition in liberalism
24
The transition to liberalism and the remnant of American labor
29
Feudal dismantling and the state
30
The template of enticement
122
Contract breaking
128
The peaceable boycott
135
Outside of the province of working men
145
A new technical channel
154
Masters servants and the new American state
160
Railroad rates and labor costs
164
The economy of speed
173

From judicial to legislative governance
33
the art of demolition
40
Legislative sovereignty and its limits
46
The English imprint on American law
55
The American codification movement
62
Belated feudalism the order of the workplace in latenineteenthcentury America
68
The order of labor
71
The judicial governance of master and servant
79
Relative liberty
91
The province of work
102
The province and the republic
111
The old order and collective action
118
A clear line
182
Regulation by anachronism
189
A new American state
198
Actual conditions and practicable measures
204
Conclusion the state of liberalism
209
Full legislative sovereignty
211
The diffusion of legislative forms
215
Legislative polity and administrative state
218
Labor politics pure and simple
221
Myths old and new
227
Index
231
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