Washington Law Review


E. B. McGovern


The turn of the century witnessed the commencement of a great movement, in the United States, of social and economic legislative reform. In their obedience to the people's will, state legislatures bent to the task of eliminating what were then, and still are, viewed as evils too long existent. It was in the field of labor-capital relations that our legislatures early found matter for profound consideration. European nations, following enactment of the first compensation law in Germany in 1884, had emphasized one social and economic evil—the unfortunate plight of the workingman, injured in the course of his employment, who had lost his capacity to earn. Following the lead of these European countries, Massachusetts first considered workmen's compensation legislation; but the abortive New York law of 1910 was the first American state enactment of a workmen's compensation law. Then, in 1911, ten states, including Washington, enacted workmen's compensation laws.

First Page