Document Type



The First American Labor Case, 41 Yale Law Journal 165 (1931)


THE yeast which was to raise the labor injunction was working
vigorously in 1877.1 But some of its earlier ferments are also
informing to the student of the subsequent product. Before 1877
there had not, in this country, been many instances of resort to
the courts in labor troubles.2 To contemporary observation they
may have seemed to affect the lives and fortunes of employers
and workmen only locally and for brief periods. But their
existence as history has had effect upon modern law. The chemistry
of the forces which pressed upon the courts in labor cases--
hopes, desires, values, emotions, opinions, beliefs-was, moreover,
as it is to-day. The law of social physics which explains or
describes judicial response and resistance to such forces-a law
which, though clearly perceivable, eludes satisfactory formulation
-- was also the same then as still. And the facts and questions were substantially similar to those of which our view,
when we look at them in contemporary labor cases, is confused
by a clutter of adjudications.

Date of Authorship for this Version



labor injunction, labor law