Books for changing the world
Policing A Class Society
The Experience of American Cities, 1865-1915

Police are popularly understood as the “thin blue line” that “serves and protects” us from violence and crime in the pursuit of justice.

In Policing a Class Society, Sidney L. Harring provides an essential corrective to the ideas that police have always been around, that they are a force for deterring crime, or that theyhave an interest in the pursuit of justice.

Looking at the growth of the urban police force around the turn of the 20th century, Harring argues that the police protected the interestsof manufacturers, working almost as hired guns. Rather than fighting crime, the historical role of police was to control the leisure activity of the devloping working-class and maintainthe existing order of capitalist relationships.

  • Policing a Class Society is a significant contribution to the literature on criminal justice history.”—Alexander W. Pisciotta, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology


    "Sidney L. Harring’s Policing a Class Society from 1983 should be considered a classic. A rare avowedly Marxist history of policing in the United States, it offers something many readers crave." Legal Form