A Comparative Study of Class Formation in Scotland and the American Midwest, 1830-1924
Author: John H. M. Laslett
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Category: Business & Economics
This masterful study charts both the common ground and the telling differences in development between two widely separated coal mining communities: one in Lanarkshire, in the Clyde valley of southwest Scotland, the other in northern Illinois, which became a prime destination for Lanarkshire colliers seeking a better life in the New World in the years following the Civil War. Challenging the prevailing exceptionalist paradigm of labor history, Laslett provides a thorough explanation of the American and Scottish miners' divergent approaches to collectivist solutions. He traces the progressive heightening of militancy and the rise of industrial unionism on both sides of the Atlantic as the coal mines became increasingly mechanized and as the interests of miners and mine-owners divided along class lines. Drawing on a profound knowledge of both communities, Laslett demonstrates that, with the exception of electoral politics, the process of class formation in Lanarkshire and northern Illinois was very much the same.