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The Workplace Constitution from the New Deal to the New Right

The Workplace Constitution from the New Deal to the New Right


Part of Studies in Legal History

  • Publication planned for: October 2014
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2014
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107613218


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About the Authors
  • Today, most Americans lack constitutional rights on the job. Instead of enjoying free speech or privacy, they can be fired for almost any reason or no reason at all. This book uses history to explain why. It takes readers back to the 1930s and 1940s when advocates across the political spectrum – labor leaders, civil rights advocates, and conservatives opposed to government regulation – set out to enshrine constitutional rights in the workplace. The book tells their interlocking stories of fighting for constitutional protections for American workers, recovers their surprising successes, explains their ultimate failure, and helps readers assess this outcome.

    • Challenges conventional understandings about the racial politics and legal strategies of American conservatives, the civil rights movement's commitment to working-class African Americans, and about where constitutional history gets made
    • Shows conservatives in an overlooked alliance with African Americans in the struggle for equality, using lawsuits to soften their ultra-right image
    • Demonstrates that civil rights advocates did not abandon black workers' constitutional claims in the 1950s as is currently thought
    • Argues that a complete understanding of American constitutional history requires examining the work not only of judges but also of obscure bureaucrats and administrative agencies
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107613218
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 21 b/w illus.
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2014
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Crafting the Workplace Constitutions in the New Deal 1930s and 1940s:
    1. Liberals forge a workplace constitution in the courts
    2. Agencies discover the liberal workplace constitution
    3. Conservatives create a workplace constitution in the courts
    Part II. Advancing the Workplace Constitutions in the Cold War 1950s:
    4. Liberals test the workplace constitution in the courts
    5. Agencies consider the liberal workplace constitution
    6. Conservatives pursue the workplace constitution in the courts
    Part III. Administering the Liberal Workplace Constitution in the Long 1960s:
    7. Agencies recognize the liberal workplace constitution in the new frontier
    8. The liberal workplace constitution on the air and the wires
    9. The NLRB expands the liberal workplace constitution
    Part IV. The Workplace Constitutions in the New Right 1970s and 1980s:
    10. Conservatives reject the liberal workplace constitution
    11. Liberals rethink their workplace constitution
    12. Conservatives unite the workplace constitutions
    13. The conservative workplace constitution divides the New Right coalition

  • Author

    Sophia Z. Lee, University of Pennsylvania
    Sophia Z. Lee is Assistant Professor of Law and History at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her work has appeared in the Virginia Law Review and Law and History Review. She earned her JD and her PhD in history from Yale University. Prior to joining the Penn Law faculty, she clerked for the Honorable Kimba M. Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and served as a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law. As a graduate student, she won awards and fellowships from the American Society for Legal History, the American Historical Association, and Yale Law School.

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