"The Regeneration of Men: U.S. Prison Reform and Progressive-Era Capitalism"
At the turn of the twentieth century, self-styled reformers launched a vibrant campaign to remake the nation’s prisons. Their goal was to prepare imprisoned men – largely, white men – for democratic citizenship in an industrial capitalist economy. To do so, they sought to turn prisons into microcosms of their ideal society, one comprised of productive, self-sufficient citizens, but tempered with an ethic of mutual welfare and civic responsibility. With a focus on Thomas Mott Osborne’s efforts in New York state, this paper explores how prisons became laboratories for the modern progressive state and a reformed capitalism.
Respondent: Andrew Wender Cohen, Syracuse University
About the History of Capitalism Seminar Series
The History of Capitalism Seminar provides a works-in-progress forum for work from scholars at all levels. Proposals may consider a variety of subjects, including the history of race and racism, gender and feminist studies, intellectual history, political history, legal history, business history, the history of finance, labor history, cultural history, urban history, and agricultural history. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer (Loyola University Chicago) and Andrew Hartman (Illinois State University) are the co-coordinators of the seminar.