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Free and Unfree Labor Lecture 1 Antebellum Slavery.

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1 Free and Unfree Labor Lecture 1 Antebellum Slavery

2 Administrative Reading for next class Newman Internship reminder Essay Reminder Return quizzes at end of class

3 Review Factory Work and the Challenges it provided to both workers and employers Issues of most concern to workers Employer responses in the antebellum period and their similarity to employer responses today

4 Today I.Slavery as a system of labor extraction II.Extent of slavery III.Slavery as an employment relationship IV.Genovese V.Fogel and Engermann

5 I- Slavery as a Labor Extraction System People have analyzed slavery from a variety of perspectives For our purposes, we’ll view it primarily as a system to extract labor from slaves –Masters initiated slavery as a labor system –It was a way to earn income from the work of others

6 Slavery as a Human Resource Management System It is a system of rule-making to govern the relationships between managers and the managed – system of recruiting, selecting, training, motivating and compensating workers It differs from others in two basic ways Differences –Considerably more extreme in terms of authority granted to employers –Employer authority extends beyond work

7 II- Extent of Slavery 1790 Virginia About 4 million slaves by 1860 Pattern of Employment

8 Slave Tasks - Male Large majority served as field hands Others served in variety of trades and occupations

9 Occupations slaves followed Engineers Coopers Blacksmiths Stonemasons Mechanics Weavers Worked in factories and on railroads

10 Slave Tasks - female In colonial period large majority of females worked as field hands After 1800 that gradually decreased although a majority always remained field hands Other tasks included household and domestic work, spinning, and tending animals

11 III- Slavery as an employment relationship Role of Masters Small farms –Most farms small enough that masters worked alongside slaves –Most slave owners had fewer than 20 slaves

12 Role of Masters - Plantations Most slaves on plantations large enough that master didn’t work with them So relationship more typically employer- employee than fellow worker Discretion of master to set work –Gang system –Task System

13 Working Conditions Commonly “sun up to sun down” but could be longer Work often stopped early on Saturdays and not normal to work on Sundays although not unheard of Slaves might be expected to do much of their own work at these times, e.g. tending their own garden plots

14 Working Conditions Master determined size of work force Master determined techniques of motivation Techniques of Motivation?

15 Role of slaves in the employment system No formal role in determination of rules Sometimes considerable informal role Even in such an extreme system, at some level the consent of the employees is required

16 Role of slaves Testimony of overseers and masters Masters clearly feared slave resistance and especially violent resistance Examples – armed slaves marched on Richmond – rebellious slaves in Louisiana subdued by troops –1831 Nat Turner’s rebellion

17 Slave Resistance Extensive evidence of slave resistance Shows clearly the lack of truth behind such assertions as that slaves didn’t desire freedom, slaves were not intelligent or that slaves were lazy Shows extent that whites would go to justify a system that could not be justified

18 IV. Genovese Genovese – Were slaves lazy or hard working? What was his evidence?

19 V- Time on the Cross – Fogel and Engerman Major work on the history and economics of American slavery Methodology largely statistical Focused on three hypotheses, two of which were novel

20 Fogel and Engerman Hypotheses 1)Consumption patterns of slaves compared favorably to those of northern white workers 2)Economic rationality prevented slavery from being a system of extreme and unremitting cruelty 3)Slave plantations were more efficient than northern family farms because slaves were so industrious

21 Next Time First unions and early unionism Attitude of government toward early unions Race, Sex and the Working Class

22 Free and Unfree Labor Lecture 2 Unions, Unionism and Government

23 Administrative Reading for next time Essay Reminder

24 Review Slavery as a system of Labor Extraction The vast extent of slavery in the antebellum United States Slaves had no formal control over their work lives but occasionally significant informal control Regular resistance to abusive work conditions Evidence of Genovese on diligence of slaves Fogel and Engerman Hypotheses

25 Today I.The First Unions II.Early Unions – Membership and Policies III.Government and the unions IV.Race, sex and the working class

26 I- The First Unions What is a labor union? “A continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their working lives”

27 The First Unionists What kinds of workers formed the earliest unions in the United States? Were they factory workers? Were they low-skilled or highly skilled workers? Why were they the ones to form the early unions?

28 First Unions Journeymen Cordwainers of Philadelphia 1792 What were cordwainers? Journeymen Printers of New York 1795 Why might printers be among the first to unionize?

29 Early Unions After 1800, widespread organization of skilled workers Printers, shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, cabinet ‑ makers, shipwrights, coopers, weavers, building trades, millwrights, stonecutters, and hatters All focused on economic action, not mutual benefits Organized single skilled occupation

30 Union Behavior Economic action v. mutual benefits Mutual benefits –Older model preceding the earliest unions –Protected members from death and in some cases illness or unemployment Economic action –Focused on dealing with employers –Withdrew labor when they felt it necessary

31 Union Rules Typically proceedings and membership kept secret Oath to abide by agreed wage scale Promise to assist fellow members to gain employment ahead of any others

32 Techniques Collective Bargaining – more emphasis on closed shop than at any time since Individuals or committees would inspect workplaces (often in secret) for compliance with union rules Turnouts, often fought out largely in newspapers

33 II- Early Unions - Membership Make up of these early unions generally entirely white and male Women and African-Americans Even various immigrant groups often excluded, e.g. the Irish

34 Early Unions Early unions almost entirely based around a single occupation, usually a craft Non-craft workers Frequent strikes

35 Unions and the Business Cycle Did unions do better in prosperity or depression? Why?

36 1850s Closing of the Frontier – Impact on Workers? At the same time, the first unions of common laborers emerged

37 Attempts at Labor Unity Long history of attempts to bring workers and their various unions together First in Philadelphia in 1827, Mechanics Union of Trade Associations By the 1830s many cities had “city central trade councils”

38 Attempts at National Organization National Trades Union President was a printer, Ely Moore

39 10 Hour Day Most abiding goal By 1840 most skilled trade workers in major Eastern cities had it. Most factory workers did not State legislatures flooded with petitions for it and a few granted it Legislatures dominated by business people so not sympathetic

40 III- The Law of Criminal Conspiracy Definition of conspiracy Two or more persons may not band together to prejudice the rights of others Based on English Common Law

41 Philadelphia Cordwainers Case – 1806 Accusations against the workers Conspiring to achieve artificially high wages by threats Conspiring not to work for masters who didn't pay the rates Conspiring to prevent others from working for masters who didn't pay the rates

42 Prosecutor "Is there any man who can calculate (if this is to be tolerated) at what price he may safely contract to deliver articles for which he may receive orders, if he is to be regulated by the journeymen in an arbitrary jump from one price to another?"

43 Verdict Jury Judge – instructions to jury –Can interpret this as attempt to benefit members or to injure nonmembers –Law condemns both Unions illegal on their face

44 Commonwealth v. Hunt 1842 Further developments in the law of criminal conspiracy as applied to unions Facts –Boston Journeymen Bootmakers organized a strike –Employer had hired a non-unionist –Object was to force employer to cease violating the closed shop

45 Verdict Object of the union was to get all members of the occupation to join so as to increase the organization's power Means chosen clearly legal and no showing that power, once achieved, would be used for illegal ends Hence, since neither means nor ends illegal, organization not illegal

46 Impact on Employers Looked elsewhere to justify help from government Property Doctrine –Any interference with their use of their property should be illegal –Workers have no property rights in their jobs –Military and police frequently were available to help protect employers’ property rights

47 Other Employer Tools Spies Firing unionists Blacklists Yellow Dog Contracts Control of publicity (e.g. association of unions and strikes with foreign ideologies)

48 IV- Race, Sex and the Working Class How did white workers react to African- American workers among them? How did African-Americans respond to this reaction? How did male workers react to women in the labor force? How did women respond to this?

49 Next Time Begin unit on labor and employment in the Civil War and Reconstruction periods


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