Book Review

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Book Review

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Tony A. Freyer's many books concentrate on the themes of law, economic development, and federalism. Though the scene in Producers Versus Capitalists has changed to a regional case study of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, Freyer revisits many of the themes and issues that mark his earlier work. But instead of describing the, by now, familiar ways in which law and the federal system facilitated economic development, Freyer here shows how law at the local level was used to counter, temper, and restructure the onslaught of liberal capitalism. By cutting against the well-known story laid out most famously by Morton J. Horwitz in his The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (1977), Freyer brings new perspective to the on-going debate over the transition to a capitalist economy in the early nineteenth century. Producers Versus Capitalists, by virtue of its unique local perspective, adds an important dimension to our understanding of law and the economy in the antebellum period.


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