Scholars who have studied the Progressive Movement’s contributions to

American law have paid little attention to its impact on tort law. This Article

helps fill the gap by examining the ways in which Progressivism shaped the rise

of employer liability law, workers compensation, and comparative negligence

during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The Article places

these reforms within the broader social history of American tort law—a

gradual, often tortuous transition from free-labor beliefs that the law should

encourage personal responsibility and economic growth above all else to a

realization that injuries are an unavoidable cost of economic modernization,

accompanied by a long-running debate over the extent to which the costs of

accidents should be socialized.