Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Belated Feudalism

Belated Feudalism
Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States

$113.00 (C)

  • Author: Karen Orren, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Date Published: January 1992
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521410397

$ 113.00 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Contrary to the idea that the United States was liberal from its inception, Orren argues that both capitalism and constitutionalism proceeded upon a remnant of ancient feudalism. This was the common law of master and servant, embedded in the judiciary, cutting off the fundamental area of labor governance from democratic politics. The fully legislative polity that defines the modern liberal state was brought on through the industrial actions of trade unions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and was established with the institutions of collective bargaining under the New Deal. The book represents a reinterpertation of American political development and of the role of the labor movement as a creator of liberalism, not a spoiler of socialism.

    • A challenge to the traditional view of the role of labor relations in the political development of the USA
    • Orren sees labor as the champion of liberalism rather than the defeated proponent of socialism
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "The author...provides a carefully wrought and provocative argument that opposes the central tenets of American 'exceptionalism.'" Harvard Law Review

    "...a brilliant tour de force..." Staughton Lynd, The Journal of American History

    "Belated Feudalism is a provocative and highly original work of critical legal history on class formation and political development. Its underlying lesson--no labor, no liberalism--simultaneously challenges the restraining myths of America's pristine past and alerts us to the possiblities of a more democratic future." Contemporary Sociology

    "Orren provides a useful guide to the application of master-and-servant doctrine to the changing work environment and she raises challenging points about the role of labor in creating the undercarriage of the post-New Deal institutional order. These are significant contributions." Reviews in American History

    "Belated Feudalism is a stunning reinterpretation of the American political order as a whole. Labor and law are avenues to a broad vista. Orren reconceptualizes the logic of American political development, the relation of public and private in American politics, and the place of labor history in American political history. On all of these dimensions, one cannot read this book without having one's views shaken up and permanently altered." Jeffrey K. Tulis, The University of Texas at Austin

    "Orren's insight about the persistence of feudal relations in the workplace is a stunning way of accounting for the subservience that characterized employers' expectations and workers' drudgery." Wythe Holt, Labor History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 1992
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521410397
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: liberalism and labor in developmental perspective
    2. The transition to liberalism and the remnant of American labor
    3. Belated feudalism: the order of the workplace in late-nineteenth-century America
    4. The old order and collective action
    5. Masters, servants, and the new American state
    6. Conclusion: the state of liberalism

  • Author

    Karen Orren, University of California, Los Angeles

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.