When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that
"Men is cheep here to Day," he exposed an unsettling contradiction
at the heart of the Union's war effort. Despite Northerners'
devotion to the principles of free labor, the war produced rampant
speculation and coercive labor arrangements that many Americans
labeled fraudulent. Debates about this contradiction focused on
employment agencies called "intelligence offices," institutions of
dubious character that nevertheless served the military and
domestic necessities of the Union army and Northern households.
Northerners condemned labor agents for pocketing fees above and
beyond contracts for wages between employers and employees. Yet the
transactions these middlemen brokered with vulnerable Irish
immigrants, Union soldiers and veterans, former slaves, and
Confederate deserters defined the limits of independence in the
wage labor economy and clarified who could prosper in it. Men Is
Cheap shows that in the process of winning the war, Northerners
were forced to grapple with the frauds of free labor. Labor
brokers, by helping to staff the Union military and Yankee
households, did indispensable work that helped the Northern state
and Northern employers emerge victorious. They also gave rise to an
economic and political system that enriched the managerial class at
the expense of laborers--a reality that resonates to this day.
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!