Caught in the Machinery: Workplace Accidents and Injured Workers in Nineteenth-Century Britain

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Caught in the Machinery draws on social, cultural, and legal history to bring to life the dangers facing working people in Great Britain between 1800 and the first British Employer's Liability Act of 1880. Autobiographies, songs, and broadsides provide a window onto the cultural meanings of workplace accidents and contrast those meanings with the views of humanitarian onlookers and the Victorian press. The book is uniquely attentive to the broader Anglo-American context; in the nineteenth century, Great Britain and the United States shared a common-law regime that was singularly unfriendly to workers, but each country eventually developed workers' compensation in response to very different sets of pressures.