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Radical History in Australia: A Model for Canada?

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CCLH
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Disciplines
  • History
  • Law

Abstract

ARTICLES 'That Indefinite Area of Toleration": Criminal Conspiracy and Trade Unions in Ontario, 1837-771 Eric Tucker ALTHOUGH THBCURRBNT generation of Canadian labour historians has extensively researched and written about the period of the first industrial revolution (roughly 1850-1900), they have, on the whole, paid relatively little attention to the develop- ment and role of labour law, including the legal regime under which trade unions formed and operated. Rather, their focus has been on the social history of the working class. More recently, social historians and legal scholars have become interested in understanding the social role of law, focusing attention on its genesis, as well as its coercive and ideological functions. These developments have pre- pared the way for the revival of studies in the history of labour law. This research seeks to understand how working-class experience, ideology, and activity, as revealed by the new social historians, both shaped and were shaped by law. The present paper aims to contribute to this new literature. 'Prom E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York 1963), 508. îF6r a sample of the new Canadian labour history, see Bry an D. Palmer, A Culture in Conflict (Montreal 1979) and Working-Class Experience (Toronto 1983) and Gregory S. Kealey, Toronto Workers Respond to Capitalism 1867 -1892 (Toronto 1980). E.P. Thompson inspired bom the new labour history and the social history of law. See his Making, and his Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act (New York 1973). For other work that has followed Thompson in making law a central focus of social history, see Douglas Hay etal^ Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth Century England (New York 197S) Eric Tucker, That Indefinite Area of Toleration: Criminal Conspiracy and Trade Unions in Ontario. 1837-77," LabourlLe Travail, 27 (Spring 1991), 15-54. 16 LABOUR/LE TRAVAIL Its particular focus is the legal status of trade union

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