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James D. Schmidt

Current Research

My primary research and teaching interests are in the legal, labor, and social history of the nineteenth-century United States. My current research concerns the legal history of childhood. My recent book, Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor was published by Cambridge University Press in 2010. It examines the ways in which legal actions resulting from industrial accidents incurred by young people helped to shape the cultural meanings of child labor. The book was awarded the 2011 Philip Taft Labor History Prize. An article on the legal evolution of children's work over the course of the nineteenth century appeared in Law and History Review in 2005. My first book, Free to Work: Labor Law, Emancipation, and Reconstruction, 1815-1880 (1998), explored the effects of antebellum labor and social welfare policy on the outcome of emancipation and the development of a capitalist labor market. I am currently doing research on violence in nineteenth and early twentieth century schools.

Major Publications

  • Industrial Violence and the Legal Origins of Child Labor, Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Free to Work: Labor Law, Emancipation, and Reconstruction, 1815-1880, University of Georgia Press, 1998.

Courses Taught

  • HIST 260 American History to 1865
  • HIST 261 American History Since 1865
  • HIST 359 History of Illinois
  • HIST 395 Historical Methods
  • HIST 464 Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 465 Industrial America
  • HIST 495 Senior Thesis
  • Graduate reading and research seminars on Law and Society; History of Childhood; Nineteenth-Century History

James D. Schmidt

James D. Schmidt

Chair and Presidential Teaching Professor

Ph.D., Rice University,1992

19th Century U.S., Law and Society

815-753-6810
jschmidt@niu.edu
Zulauf 713