"Professor Bernstein's highly original analysis will no doubt spark debate among Lochner scholars, breathing new life into a previously tired discussion."--Harvard Law Review, April 2001 (full review here)

Awarded the first Law and Economics Center Prize for "Best Book in Law and Economics" 

Click here to watch Professor Bernstein discuss the book at the Cato Institute, with comments by Mark Tushnet (Real Video) [Transcript available in PDF here]

Click here to read a review by Historian Michael Mayer ("Makes a compelling case that historians cannot ignore.") 

"This book delivers on its claim of being provocative and controversial."  --Law professor Michael Rustad, Bimonthly Review of Law Books, May-June 2002

"Probably the most eloquent piece I've read on the subject [of Lochner vs. New York]"-- blogger "Alice"

"Bernstein's provocative thesis challenges legal historians to re-examine the intersections of race and power from Reconstruction to the New Deal, and it is an important addition to the literature on classical legal thought."--Historian Patricia Hagler Minter, American Journal of Legal History, July 2001 

Click here to read a review by economist Robert Margo ("well written and clearly argued")

Click here to read a review by law professor Brian Landsberg ("advances the dialogue about the causes of and cures for racial discrimination in America.")

Click here to read a review by economist Cecelia Conrad ("provides important historical lessons")

Only One Place of Redress
African Americans, Labor Regulations, and the Courts
from Reconstruction to the New Deal

by David E. Bernstein

Duke University Press

Cloth $39.95 February 2001, 216 pages 

Used and new copies available at a substantial discount from Amazon.com

David E. Bernstein is the George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law 

Click here to read the Preface and Introduction to the book.

Click here to read an interview with Professor Bernstein.

In Only One Place of Redress David E. Bernstein offers a bold reinterpretation of American legal history: he argues that American labor and occupational laws, enacted by state and federal governments after the civil War and into the twentieth century, benefited dominant groups in society to the detriment of those who lacked political power. Both intentionally and incidentally, claims Bernstein, these laws restricted in particular the job mobility and economic opportunity for blacks.

 A pioneer in applying the insights of public choice theory to legal history, Bernstein contends that the much-maligned jurisprudence of the Lochner area--with its emphasis on freedom of contract and private market ordering--actually discouraged discrimination and assisted groups with little political clout. To support this thesis he examines the motivation behind and practical impact of laws restricting interstate labor recruitment, occupational licensing laws, railroad labor laws, minimum wage statutes, the Davis-Bacon Act, and New Deal collective bargaining. He concludes that the ultimate failure of Lochnerism-- and the triumph of the regulatory state-- not only strengthened racially exclusive labor unions but contributed to a massive loss of employment opportunities for African Americans, the effects of which continue to this day.

Scholars and students interested in race relations, labor law, and legal or constitutional history will be fascinated by Bernstein's daring-- and controversial-- argument.

Click here to read a review by historian David Beito ("This is a wonderful book.  If historians are willing to listen, Only One Place of Redress can transform their understanding of the black experience in America since the Civil War.")

Click here to read a review by law professor Michael Rappaport ("powerful new book . . . thoroughly researched case studies")

Click here to read a review by political scientist Ken Kersch ("A short and sharp challenge to the prevailing narrative of the emergence of the American welfare state.")

Click here to read a review by economist Richard Vedder ("a very important addition to the literature")

Click here to read a review by historian Robert Zieger ("uses a briskly presented law and economics perspective to force a rereading of the of the traditional script of labor history")

Click here to read a review by attorney Clint Bolick ("a unique and serious contribution to the quest to protect freedom of enterprise")

Click here to read a review by labor writer Ivan Osario ("a well-focused work of legal, economic, and regulatory history")

Click here to read a review by law professor W. Lewis Burke ("Bernstein is an eloquent writer and an accomplished legal historian . . . he has written a provocative book that should be read by all those interested in issues of race, labor, and economics")

Click here to read a review by economist Robert Whaples ("Bernstein has built a strong case that the damage from these labor laws was not small")

"[A] wealth of research" and "provocative analyses.... A useful corrective to the countless tomes that advance the popular view that market regulation is always a good thing for racial and ethnic minorities." Ronald D. Brown, Journal of Labor Research, Winter 2003

"Only One Place of Redress fills an important gap in our understanding of the interplay of state, race, and labor policies during the industrial era. . . . a solid contribution" -- Historian Joe Trotter, Labor History, Aug. 2002

"Provocative book. . . . Bernstein tells an engaging story." Law professor Steven H. Kropp, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law (2002)

"Bernstein has provided us with an important narrative that is underappreciated in African-American history."  Law professor Davison Douglas, Michigan Law Review (May 2002)

Click here to read a review by economist Charles Baird ("excellent historical, legal, and economic analysis")



Back to Bernstein Home Page.