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The Primacy of Labor in American Constitutional Development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

Karen Orren
University of California, Los Angeles


As demonstrated in landmark decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, American constitutional development has been fueled since the framing by disputes arising from changing labor relations in both private and public settings. This pattern is explained by the original provisions of the Constitution, the English background of its emergence, and the primacy of labor as a theoretical concept for studying political change. The Court's decisions protecting property express the status quo, the establishment against which transformations proceed. However, the property cases may also be reinterpreted along the lines indicated.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1995

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