Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child LaborJames D. Schmidt
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'Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor is an imaginative and compelling work of historical reconstruction. Through vividly told legal stories of injured child workers in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century Appalachian South, Schmidt chronicles how clashes over new understandings of work and age transformed the lives of countless boys and girls and the society in which they lived. In doing so, he deftly weaves together legal, labor, and children's history to make a very persuasive case for the role of child labor in the construction of modern childhood and the modern legal and industrial order.' Michael Grossberg, Indiana University 'Schmidt has written an original and gripping legal history of childhood and industrial capitalism. He shows how the modern idea of child labor as a grave social injustice was forged in heartbreaking litigation over industrial violence that spread across the Appalachian South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.' David S. Tanenhaus, University of Nevada, Las Vegas 'From a worldview that saw the labor of young people as essential to the family economy and a natural, normal part of growing up, Americans, between the 1880s and the 1920s, came to see this labor as not simply wrongheaded, but illegal 'child labor'. James D. Schmidt reconstructs this history, placing at its center young people who suffered industrial accidents, their families, and the courts that decided their legal claims. Thoroughly researched, brilliantly argued, beautifully written, and showing throughout a deep humanity for its subjects - a pathbreaking contribution to the history of law, labor, childhood, and the making of modern America.' Barbara Young Welke, University of Minnesota 'Schmidt's detailed descriptions of factory life illuminate the perilous environment in which workers toiled, and his extensive use of court records gives voice to the child workers and families involved. ... In addition, the contrast between the author's penetrating analysis and litigants' practical language makes the book a pleasure to read. This is an essential book for anyone interested in the history of childhood, labor, law or the South.' The Journal of Law and History Review