Robert J. Steinfeld.
Published June 2002. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-5452-5.
Examining the emergence of the modern conception of free labor–labor that could not be legally compelled, even though voluntarily agreed upon–Steinfeld explains how English law dominated the early American colonies, making violation of al labor agreements punishable by imprisonment. By the eighteenth century, traditional legal restrictions no longer applied to many kinds of colonial workers, but it was not until the nineteenth century that indentured servitude came to be regarded as similar to slavery.
“As at once a work of synthetic legal history and a thought-provoking series of arguments about the nature of legal change, it is a book that deserves to be read carefully by all early-modern social and legal historians.”
– American Journal of Legal History
“[The book] is thoughtful and quietly stimulating. . . . Both for its own particular ideas, and as an example of what labor law history is beginning to achieve, it is a book to be recommended.”
– Labor History
“A thorough and persuasive analysis of the evolution of the legal status of workers, which effectively blends legal with social history and illuminates the lively controversies of our own time concerning the rights of individual employees.”
– David Montgomery, Yale University
“Essential reading for labor historians, historians of social welfare and of the history of political and economic thought, as well as for legal historians generally. . . . No one else has shown the real changes which occurred in people’s lives when they began to think of themselves as ’employees’ rather than ‘servants.’”
– Hendrik Hartog, University of Wisconsin Law School
“A superbly researched and analyzed work of historical and legal scholarship, tracing the existence and disappearance of varying legal constraints that limited the economic freedom of laborers. With his analysis of legal statutes, court cases, and writings of contemporaries in England and America, Steinfeld has provided the detail to reopen a most important issue of political, social, and economic change. This book will be of interest to all studying the nature of the employment relation and its political implications.”
– Stanley L. Engerman, University of Rochester
English Law in the Age of the Black Death, 1348-1381: A Transformation of Governance and Law (Feb 13, 2001)
Robert C. Palmer. Published February 2001. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-4954-5. Robert Palmer’s pathbreaking study shows how the Black Death triggered massive changes in both governance and law in fourteenth-century England, establishing the mechanisms by which the law adapted to social needs for centuries thereafter. The Black Death killed …
The Bar and the Old Bailey, 1750-1850 (Nov 30, 2003)
Allyson N. May. Published November 2003. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-2806-9. Allyson May chronicles the history of the English criminal trial and the development of a criminal bar in London between 1750 and 1850. She charts the transformation of the legal process and the evolution of professional standards of conduct for the criminal bar …
The Roots of Justice: Crime and Punishment in Alameda County, California, 1870-1910 (Sep 19, 1981)
Lawrence M. Friedman, Robert V. Percival. Published 1981. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-9748-5. Focusing on a single county at a time when the population grew from 24,000 to 246,000, the authors combine statistical analysis of documentary sources, contemporary newspaper accounts, and exploration in criminal case files to give a detailed …
Law, Land, and Family: Aristocratic Inheritance in England, 1300 to 1800 (Feb 16, 1997)
Eileen Spring. Published February 1997. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-4642-1. Eileen Spring presents a fresh interpretation of the history of inheritance among the English gentry and aristocracy. In a work that recasts both the history of real property law and the history of the family, she finds that one of the principal and determinative …
Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 (Feb 13, 1999)
Thomas D. Morris. Published February 1999. Order online through The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-4817-3. This volume is the first comprehensive history of the evolving relationship between American slavery and the law from colonial times to the Civil War. As Thomas Morris clearly shows, racial slavery came to the English colonies as an institution without strict …