The Accidental Republic
John Fabian Witt Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress KF3615.W58 2004 | Dewey Decimal 344.73021
In the five decades after the Civil War, the United States witnessed a profusion of legal institutions designed to cope with the nation's exceptionally acute industrial accident crisis. Jurists elaborated the common law of torts. Workingmen's organizations founded a widespread system of cooperative insurance. Leading employers instituted welfare-capitalist accident relief funds. And social reformers advocated compulsory insurance such as workmen's compensation.
John Fabian Witt argues that experiments in accident law at the turn of the twentieth century arose out of competing views of the loose network of ideas and institutions that historians call the ideology of free labor. These experiments a century ago shaped twentieth- and twenty-first-century American accident law; they laid the foundations of the American administrative state; and they occasioned a still hotly contested legal transformation from the principles of free labor to the categories of insurance and risk. In this eclectic moment at the beginnings of the modern state, Witt describes American accident law as a contingent set of institutions that might plausibly have developed along a number of historical paths. In turn, he suggests, the making of American accident law is the story of the equally contingent remaking of our accidental republic.
Table of Contents:
1. Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Crisis of Free Labor 2. The Dilemmas of Classical Tort Law 3. The Cooperative Insurance Movement 4. From Markets to Managers 5. Widows, Actuaries, and the Logics of Social Insurance 6. The Passion of William Werner 7. The Accidental Republic
Notes Acknowledgments Index
John Witt paints his portrait of industrializing America with the subtlety of a master and on an immense canvas. His magisterial history is much more than an account of the rise of workers compensation, still one of our greatest social reforms. Witt vividly recreates the social context of the late 19th century industrial world - workers' appalling injury and death rates, their mutual help and insurance associations, mass immigration, the rise of Taylorist management, the struggles to give new meaning to the free labor ideal, the encounter between European social engineering and American anti-statism and individualism, and the politics and economics of labor relations in the Progressive era. Out of these materials, Witt shows, the law helped fashion a new social order. His analysis has great contemporary significance, revealing both the alluring possibilities and the enduring limits of legal reform in America. It is destined to become a classic of social and legal history. --Peter H. Schuck, author of Diversity in America: Keeping Government at a Safe Distance
John Witt shows us the power of perceptive legal history at work. Within the tangle of compensation for industrial accidents, he discovers not only a legal struggle whose outcome set the pattern for many 20th century interventions of government in economic life, but also a momentous confrontation between contract and collective responsibility. Anyone who finds American history absorbing will gain pleasure and insight from this book. --Viviana Zelizer, Princeton University, author of The Social Meaning of Money: Pin Money, Paychecks, Poor Relief, and Other Currencies
In 1940 Willard Hurst and Lloyd Garrison inaugurated modern socio-legal studies in the United States with their history of workers' injuries and legal process in Wisconsin. Two generations later, John Fabian Witt's The Accidental Republic marks the full maturation of that field of inquiry. Deftly integrating a legal analysis of tort doctrine, a history of industrial accidents, and a fresh political-economic understanding of statecraft, Witt demonstrates the significance of turn-of-the-century struggles over work, injury, risk, reparation, and regulation in the making of our modern world. Sophisticated, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary, The Accidental Republic is legal history as Hurst and Garrison imagined it could be. --William Novak, The University of Chicago, author of The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America
In 1914 the British-built and Japanese-owned steamship Komagata Maru left Hong Kong for Vancouver carrying 376 Punjabi migrants. Chartered by railway contractor and purported rubber planter Gurdit Singh, the ship and its passengers were denied entry into Canada and two months later were deported to Calcutta. In Across Oceans of Law Renisa Mawani retells this well-known story of the Komagata Maru. Drawing on "oceans as method"—a mode of thinking and writing that repositions land and sea—Mawani examines the historical and conceptual stakes of situating histories of Indian migration within maritime worlds. Through close readings of the ship, the manifest, the trial, and the anticolonial writings of Singh and others, Mawani argues that the Komagata Maru's landing raised urgent questions regarding the jurisdictional tensions between the common law and admiralty law, and, ultimately, the legal status of the sea. By following the movements of a single ship and bringing oceans into sharper view, Mawani traces British imperial power through racial, temporal, and legal contests and offers a novel method of writing colonial legal history.
Deborah L. Rhode Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress KF9435.R48 2016 | Dewey Decimal 345.730253
Despite declining prohibitions on sexual relationships, Americans are nearly unanimous in condemning marital infidelity. Deborah Rhode explores why. She exposes the harms that criminalizing adultery inflicts—including civil lawsuits, job termination, and loss of child custody—and makes a case for repealing laws against adultery and polygamy.
In the decade after the 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion, advocates on both sides sought common ground. But as pro-abortion and anti-abortion positions hardened over time into pro-choice and pro-life, the myth was born that Roe v. Wade was a ruling on a woman’s right to choose. Mary Ziegler’s account offers a corrective.
“Citizenship is salvation,” preached Noble Drew Ali, leader of the Moorish Science Temple of America in the early twentieth century. Ali’s message was an aspirational call for black Americans to undertake a struggle for recognition from the state, one that would both ensure protection for all Americans through rights guaranteed by the law and correct the unjust implementation of law that prevailed in the racially segregated United States. Ali and his followers took on this mission of citizenship as a religious calling, working to carve out a place for themselves in American democracy and to bring about a society that lived up to what they considered the sacred purpose of the law.
In The Aliites, Spencer Dew traces the history and impact of Ali’s radical fusion of law and faith. Dew uncovers the influence of Ali’s teachings, including the many movements they inspired. As Dew shows, Ali’s teachings demonstrate an implicit yet critical component of the American approach to law: that it should express our highest ideals for society, even if it is rarely perfect in practice. Examining this robustly creative yet largely overlooked lineage of African American religious thought, Dew provides a window onto religion, race, citizenship, and law in America.
Stuart Banner Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress KF562.B36 2011 | Dewey Decimal 330.17
What is property? Stuart Banner here offers a guided tour through the many manifestations, and innumerable uses, of property throughout American history. From indigenous culture to our genes, from one’s celebrity to Internet content, American Property reveals how our ideas of ownership evolve to suit our ever-changing needs.
For more than fifty years, Robert G. McCloskey’s classic work on the Supreme Court’s role in constructing the US Constitution has introduced generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court.
As in prior editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. In his historical interpretation, he argues that the strength of the Court has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. In this new edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to address developments since the 2010 election, including the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage.
The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey's wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to the past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
Robert Tsai's history invites readers into the circle of defiant groups who refused to accept the Constitution's definition of who "We the People" are and how their authority should be exercised. It is the story of America as told by dissenters: squatters, Native Americans, abolitionists, socialists, internationalists, and racial nationalists.
The Revolution’s aspiration was summed up by the phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet the American founding was also a bid for inclusion in the community of nations. According to Eliga Gould, America aspired to diplomatic recognition under international law and the authority to become an Atlantic colonizing power itself.
At a time when tech giants have amassed vast market power, Jonathan Baker shows how laws and regulations can be updated to ensure more competition. The sooner courts and antitrust enforcement agencies stop listening to the Chicago school and start paying attention to modern economics, the sooner Americans will reap the benefits of competition.
Slavery appears as a figurative construct during the English revolution of the mid-seventeenth century, and again in the American and French revolutions, when radicals represent their treatment as a form of political slavery. What, if anything, does figurative, political slavery have to do with transatlantic slavery? In Arbitrary Rule, Mary Nyquist explores connections between political and chattel slavery by excavating the tradition of Western political thought that justifies actively opposing tyranny. She argues that as powerful rhetorical and conceptual constructs, Greco-Roman political liberty and slavery reemerge at the time of early modern Eurocolonial expansion; they help to create racialized “free” national identities and their “unfree” counterparts in non-European nations represented as inhabiting an earlier, privative age.
Arbitrary Rule is the first book to tackle political slavery’s discursive complexity, engaging Eurocolonialism, political philosophy, and literary studies, areas of study too often kept apart. Nyquist proceeds through analyses not only of texts that are canonical in political thought—by Aristotle, Cicero, Hobbes, and Locke—but also of literary works by Euripides, Buchanan, Vondel, Montaigne, and Milton, together with a variety of colonialist and political writings, with special emphasis on tracts written during the English revolution. She illustrates how “antityranny discourse,” which originated in democratic Athens, was adopted by republican Rome, and revived in early modern Western Europe, provided members of a “free” community with a means of protesting a threatened reduction of privileges or of consolidating a collective, political identity. Its semantic complexity, however, also enabled it to legitimize racialized enslavement and imperial expansion.
Throughout, Nyquist demonstrates how principles relating to political slavery and tyranny are bound up with a Roman jurisprudential doctrine that sanctions the power of life and death held by the slaveholder over slaves and, by extension, the state, its representatives, or its laws over its citizenry.
The posthumous publication of The Argument and the Action of Plato's "Laws" was compiled shortly before the death of Leo Strauss in 1973. Strauss offers an insightful and instructive reading through careful probing of Plato's classic text.
"Strauss's The Argument and the Action of Plato's 'Laws' reflects his interest in political thought, his dogged method of following the argument of the Laws step by step, and his vigorous defense of this dialogue's integrity in respect to the ideals of the Republic."—Cross Currents
"The unique characteristics of this commentary on the Laws reflect the care and precision which were the marks of Professor Strauss's efforts to understand the complex thoughts of other men."—Allan D. Nelson, Canadian Journal of Political Science
"Thorough and provocative, an important addition to Plato scholarship."—Library Journal
"The major purpose of the commentary is to provide a reading of the dialogue which displays its structural arrangement and the continuity of the argument."—J. W. Dy, Bibliographical Bulletin of Philosophy
"The reader of Strauss's book is indeed guided closely through the whole text."— M. J. Silverthorne, The Humanities Association Review
Leo Strauss (1899-1973) was the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago.
This fascinating history underscores the importance of “little people” in affecting the U.S. government. It stresses the courage of a black man, Rosco Jones, and a white woman, Grace Marsh, who dared to challenge the status quo in Alabama in the early 1940s. These two Jehovah’s Witnesses helped to lay a foundation for testing the constitutionality of state and local laws, establishing precedents that the Civil Rights movement, the feminist movement, and similar forces could follow. Newton has prepared a finely woven tale of oral, legal, and social history that opens a window on the world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Alabama.
But the book is more than a legal study; it is also a dramatic history of two powerful personalities whose total commitment to their faith enabled them to carry the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ battle from rural Alabama to the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Through a series of vivid case studies, Authors in Court charts the 300-year-long dance between authorship and copyright that has shaped each institution’s response to changing social norms of identity, privacy, and celebrity.
“A literary historian by training, Rose is completely at home in the world of law, as well as the history of photography and art. This is the work of an interdisciplinary scholar at the height of his powers. The arguments are sophisticated and the elegant text is a work of real craftsmanship. It is superb.”
—Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge
“Authors in Court is well-written, erudite, informative, and engaging throughout. As the chapters go along, we see the way that personalities inflect the supposedly impartial law; we see the role of gender in authorial self-fashioning; we see some of the fault lines which produce litigation; and we get a nice history of the evolution of the fair use doctrine. This is a book that should at least be on reserve for any IP–related course. Going forward, no one writing about any of the cases Rose discusses can afford to ignore his contribution.”
—Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College