Reinventing Free Labor: Padrones and Immigrant Workers in the North American West, 1880-1930

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Cambridge University Press, May 22, 2000 - Business & Economics - 293 pages
One of the most infamous villains in North America during the Progressive Era was the padrone, a mafia-like immigrant boss who allegedly enslaved his compatriots and kept them uncivilized, unmanly, and unfree. In this first-ever history of the padrone, Gunther Peck argues that they were not primitive men but rather thoroughly modern entrepreneurs who used corporations, the labor contract, and the right to quit to create far-flung coercive networks. Drawing on Greek, Spanish, and Italian language sources, Peck analyzes how immigrant workers emancipated themselves using the tools of padrone power to their own advantage.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Free Land and Unfree Labor
15
Defenders of Contract
82
Mobilizing Community
158
The Vanishing Padrone
227
Tables
237
Bibliography
248
Index 279
283
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