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68 Harv. L. Rev. 637 (1954-1955)


As late as 1893, state courts were not required to apply federal maritime law to common-law proceedings involving maritime subjects; each jurisdiction developed, somewhat incidentally, its own system of substantive law. The elimination of the general maritime law as an inhibition on state regulation of the employment relationship would have resulted in the complete debilitation of the Longshoremen's Act, since state law could "validly" be applied in the whole field. The judiciary's interest shifted towards according the injured worker and his family adequate means of availing themselves of the compensatory relief that is provided by federal and state governments. The Supreme Court's attempts to reconcile that purpose with its earlier concern for a general maritime law, and the consequences these attempts have had in the area of workmen's compensation, are the subject of this article.


Reprinted with permission of Harvard Law Review.



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