Redeeming Time

Redeeming Time : Protestantism and Chicago's Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912

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During the struggle for the eight-hour workday and a shorter workweek, Chicago emerged as an important battleground for workers in "the entire civilized world" to redeem time from the workplace in order to devote it to education, civic duty, health, family, and leisure.

William A. Mirola explores how the city's eight-hour movement intersected with a Protestant religious culture that supported long hours to keep workers from idleness, intemperance, and secular leisure activities. Analyzing how both workers and clergy rewove working-class religious cultures and ideologies into strategic and rhetorical frames, Mirola shows how every faith-based appeal contested whose religious meanings would define labor conditions and conflicts. As he notes, the ongoing worker-employer tension transformed both how clergy spoke about the eight-hour movement and what they were willing to do, until intensified worker protest and employer intransigence spurred Protestant clergy to support the eight-hour movement even as political and economic arguments eclipsed religious framing.

A revealing study of an era and a movement, Redeeming Time illustrates the potential--and the limitations--of religious culture and religious leaders as forces in industrial reform.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 544.31g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252038835
  • 9780252038839
  • 2,126,954

Review quote

"A careful examination of alliance-building between labor activists and Protestant clergy... Mirola does a fine job of keeping the perspectives of workers, clergy, and industrialists all in the mix--a balancing act that makes the book far more than a case study of the Social Gospel Movement."--American Historical Review

"Redeeming Time: Protestantism and Chicago's Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912. . . departs from existing literature on religion and social movements by focusing on the potential risks and drawbacks of religious involvement in social movements."--American Journal of Sociology "Mirola offers a clearly argued and well-researched piece of scholarship. . . . Valuable for understanding turn-of-the-century Chicago."--H-Net Reviews

"The fields of labor and religious history have converged in a new body of work that explores the spiritual dimensions of America's working people. William A. Mirola's Redeeming Time is an important and unique contribution to this emergent literature."--The Journal of American History "Mirola creatively challenges what we thought we knew about religion's role in one of the most important dramas unfolding in the Gilded Age--the struggle to limit the workday. His theoretical approach to the uses of religious rhetoric should be required reading for students of reform."
--Ken Fones-Wolf, author of Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s

"As a thorough analysis of rhetoric, Redeeming Time is superb... Redeeming Time is an important addition to the rapidly growing historical conversation on religion and the working classes in the United States."--Fides et Historia
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About William A. Mirola

William A. Mirola is a professor of sociology at Marian University in Indianapolis. He is the co-author of Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us about Religion in Our World.
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Rating details

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