JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Summer 2017) Free Labor: The Civil War and the Making of an American Working Class. By Mark A. Lause. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2015. Pp. 296. Cloth, $95.00; Paper $28.00.) Reviewed by Joanne Pope Melish A curious gap lies at the intersection of labor history and Civil War history. Except for its role in the New York City Draft Riots, labor activism during the war years has received relatively little attention from Civil War historians; while in labor histories, workers have tended to morph into soldiers for the duration of the war, bracketed by their antebellum and post-war labor struggles. Of course, a labor issue--slavery--lies at the heart of the Civil War, but it is treated as such mostly in terms of the labor shortage incurred by slave owners when their slaves decided to become rebels, fugitives, "contrabands," or Union recruits; few have looked at slaves' actions themselves as labor activism. Mark A. Lause has stepped into this breach with a labor history of the Civil War--a detailed examination of the experiences of working people as they resisted, negotiated, exploited, and survived (or not) the war. He attempts to pay careful attention
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: May 24, 2017
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