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Human labor was exactly that -- a commodity -- in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America.
As early as 1776, Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth Of Nations: `` We have no acts of Parliament against combining to lower the price of work ; ;
but many against combining to raise it ''.
Eighteenth-century England, upon whose customs our common law was built, had outlawed unions as monopolies and conspiracies.
In 1825, the Boston house carpenters' strike for a ten-hour day was denounced by the organized employers, who declared: `` It is considered that all combinations by any classes of citizens intended to effect the value of labor tend to convert all its branches into monopolies ''.

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