Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society: Recasting American Liberty: Gender, Race, Law, and the Railroad Revolution, 1865-1920

Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society: Recasting American Liberty: Gender, Race, Law, and the Railroad Revolution, 1865-1920

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Through courtroom dramas from 1865 to 1920 - of men forced to jump from moving cars when trainmen refused to stop, of women emotionally wrecked from the trauma of nearly missing a platform or street, and women barred from first class ladies' cars because of the color of their skin - Barbara Welke offers a dramatic reconsideration of the critical role railroads, and streetcars, played in transforming the conditions of individual liberty at the dawn of the twentieth century. The three-part narrative, focusing on the law of accidental injury, nervous shock, and racial segregation in public transit, captures Americans' journey from a cultural and legal ethos celebrating manly independence and autonomy to one that recognized and sought to protect the individual against the dangers of modern life. Gender and race become central to the transformation charted here, as much as the forces of corporate power, modern technology and urban space.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 426 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 24mm | 620g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 15 Halftones, unspecified; 2 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521649668
  • 9780521649667

Table of contents

Part I. The Body: Accidental Injury: 1. The railway journey (i): the technological transformation; 2. Gendered journeys (i): physical vulnerability; 3. The law of accidental injury; Junction: pain and suffering; Part II. Mind and Body: Nervous Shock: 4. The railway journey (ii): the psychological transformation; 5. Gendered journeys (ii): psychological vulnerability; 6. The law of nervous shock; Junction: truth, legal storytelling, and the performance of injury; Part III. Person: Racial Segregation: 7. The Railway journey (iii): the spatial transformation; 8. Gendered journeys (iii): status vulnerability; 9. The law of racial segregation.
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Review quote

"In this well-written book, Barbara Young Welke offers a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis...[her] book should appeal to scholars in many fields, especially those interested in law..." American Journal of Sociology "Welke has written a perceptive and intriguing analysis that not only sheds light on the social and communal effects of rail traffic but also provide a glimpse of the personal consequences of technological change, safety regulations, and policy decisions....This well-organized and extensively documented work considers the significance of such issues as physical and psychological injuries associated with rail traffic as well as the role that gendered policies and racial segregation played in the meaning of individual liberty in industrializing the US." Choice "[An] outstanding work of social and legal history..." Journal of Interdisciplinary History "Welke's a welcome addition to the growing literature on how railroading shaped legal culture. Based upon meticulous research in legal records, it will stimulate debate and deserves a large audience." H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
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Rating details

28 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 43% (12)
4 29% (8)
3 18% (5)
2 11% (3)
1 0% (0)
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