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A Woman's WageHistorical Meanings and Social Consequences$
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Alice Kessler-Harris

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145136

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145136.001.0001

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Law and a Living

Law and a Living

The Gendered Content of “Free Labor” in the Progressive Period

Chapter:
(p.31) 2 Law and a Living
Source:
A Woman's Wage
Author(s):

Alice Kessler-Harris

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813145136.003.0003

During the Progressive Period, there was nationwide deliberation over minimum wage. The Supreme Court ruled against providing a minimum wage in Adkins v. Children’s Hospital in 1923, sparking a debate as to what constituted a minimum wage, especially for women. This chapter discusses the various forms of attack the debaters used to argue for or against the wage, along with the impact of their rhetoric on women. Fourteen years after Adkins, the Court reversed their decision in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, declaring minimum wage constitutional, even as gender differences in pay were the norm.

Keywords:   Progressive Period, minimum wage, Adkins v. Children’s Hospital, gender as political and legal category, freedom of contract, West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish

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