"Important . . . Its greatest strength lies in charting how jurists, social reformers, and political ideologues viewed the relationship between the state and labor markets."
—Journal of the Early Republic
"Free to Work is an excellent book that explores the evolution of labor law and the development of free labor in the United States during the nineteenth century. By focusing on laws dealing with contracts and apprenticeship, enticement, and vagrancy, the author develops a sophisticated study of the relationship of law and society, class discourse, and the role of the state in these matters. Free to Work sheds new light on the era in general and on Reconstruction in particular."
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