Free Labor

Free Labor : The Civil War and the Making of an American Working Class

4.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Monumental and revelatory, Free Labor explores labor activism throughout the country during a period of incredible diversity and fluidity: the American Civil War. Mark A. Lause describes how the working class radicalized during the war as a response to economic crisis, the political opportunity created by the election of Abraham Lincoln, and the ideology of free labor and abolition. Grappling with a broad array of organizations, tactics, and settings, Lause portrays not only the widely known leaders and theoreticians, but also the unsung workers who struggled on the battlefield and the picket line. His close attention to women and African Americans, meanwhile, dismantles notions of the working class as synonymous with whiteness and maleness. In addition, Lause offers a nuanced consideration of race's role in the politics of national labor organizations, in segregated industries in the border North and South, and in black resistance in the secessionist South, creatively reading self-emancipation as the largest general strike in U.S. history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 165.1 x 247.65 x 25.4mm | 612.35g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252039335
  • 9780252039331

Review quote

"Historian Lause (Univ. of Cincinnati) significantly helps expand knowledge of the US labor movement in the period up to, during, and immediately after the Civil War. Highly recommended,"--Choice

"Free Labor: The Civil War and the Making of an American Working Class stands as a major achievement, filling a huge gap in the literature and revising our understanding of nineteenth-century labor history and the history of the Civil War."--H-Net Reviews "Mark A. Lause's deeply researched study of labor during the Civil War is an ambitious effort to change how we understand the significance of the Civil War and the history of the American labor movement, together."--Journal of American History

"An excellent synthesis of the daily struggles of working people during the war."--Journal of Southern History "A major contribution in tying together the disparate labor movements throughout the United States in the Civil War years and in showing the continued strength of antebellum labor radicalism tied to abolition."
--Gerald Friedman, author of Reigniting the Labor Movement: Restoring Means to Ends in a Democratic Labor Movement

"Lause's book presents an impressive array of original scholarship. The immense detail he provides on little-known aspects of the Civil War-era labour movement will prove especially valuable as a resource to future researchers... by joining the history of the labour movement and the history of the war, Lause has filled a long-neglected gap in the literature on the mid-19th-century United States."--Labour/ Le Travail
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About Mark A. Lause

Mark A. Lause is a professor of American history at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of A Secret Society History of the Civil War and Young America: Land, Labor, and the Republican Community.
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Rating details

3 ratings
4.33 out of 5 stars
5 67% (2)
4 0% (0)
3 33% (1)
2 0% (0)
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