Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the by Douglas Hay, Paul Craven

By Douglas Hay, Paul Craven

Grasp and servant acts, the cornerstone of English employment legislation for greater than 400 years, gave mostly unsupervised, inferior magistrates large discretion over employment relatives, together with the facility to whip, tremendous, and imprison males, girls, and kids for breach of non-public contracts with their employers. The English version was once followed, transformed, and reinvented in additional than one thousand colonial statutes and ordinances regulating the recruitment, retention, and self-discipline of employees in outlets, mines, and factories; on farms, in forests, and on plantations; and at sea. This assortment offers the 1st built-in comparative account of employment legislation, its enforcement, and its significance in the course of the British Empire.

Sweeping in its geographic and temporal scope, this quantity checks the connection among enacted legislations and enforced legislations in diverse settings, with diverse social and racial constructions, diverse economies, and diverse constitutional relationships to Britain. Investigations of the enforcement of grasp and servant legislations in England, the British Caribbean, India, Africa, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, and colonial the United States shed new mild at the nature of legislations and felony associations, the function of inferior courts in compelling functionality, and the definition of "free exertions" inside a multiracial empire.

David M. Anderson, St. Antony's university, Oxford
Michael Anderson, London institution of Economics
Jerry Bannister, Dalhousie college, Nova Scotia
M. okay. Banton, nationwide records of the uk, London
Martin Chanock, l. a. Trobe college, Australia
Paul Craven, York University
Juanita De Barros, McMaster University
Christopher Frank, college of Manitoba
Douglas Hay, York University
Prabhu P. Mohapatra, Delhi college, India
Christopher Munn, college of Hong Kong
Michael Quinlan, college of latest South Wales
Richard Rathbone, collage of Wales, Aberystwyth
Christopher Tomlins, American Bar beginning, Chicago
Mary Turner, London University

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Additional info for Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562-1955 (Studies in Legal History)

Example text

For an overview of writing on West Indian postslavery apprenticeship, see K. Smith, ‘‘Fragmented Freedom,’’ and see other work cited below, on the British Caribbean, Africa, and Mauritius. . J. Ward, British West Indian Slavery. . R. Allen, Slaves, Freedmen, and Indentured Labourers. . . Engerman has always recognized the duality of coercion and consent in indentured labor, but the development of his work might be seen as a gradual concession that economic factors are strongly conditioned by others, and notably by the law: what starts as economic history increasingly sounds like a prospectus for sociolegal history.

Master and servant law was about holding people to their agreements. In this connection it had more than a little in common with imprisonment for debt. Both schemes punished the defaulter’s body when property was wanting to satisfy his or her obligations. Lack of property transformed fines into incarceration, amounting in many places to systemic racial discrimination, and as such was regularly pointed to as its own reluctant justification. Moreover, indebtedness often reinforced the employment contract in upholding the obligation to work.

To these regimes were added, later in the nineteenth century, many others in Africa and Asia, where master and servant acts were coupled with vagrancy, pass, police, prison, and other legislation to attract, control, and direct flows of labor. The usual object was to supply labor to territories where capital investment in mines and plantations could not be profitable (or as profitable) without penal coercion. 70 Always, master and servant . Craven in this volume. .  (). .  of ; see Quinlan in this volume.

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