Before the Accommodation Principle: Disability and Employment Among Union Army Veterans

Larry M. Logue, Peter Blanck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose This article examines the impact on veteran employment of the U.S. government’s pension benefit provisions for Union soldiers following the Civil War. Methods To do so, it draws on both Union army pension records and U.S. census returns as well as information derived from the Union army samples designed by the Center for Population Economics at the University of Chicago (“CPE”) and census samples from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (“IPUMS”). Results We find that, although twentieth-century Progressive reformers contended otherwise, these nineteenth-century Americans wanted what their twenty-first-century counterparts want—work at a meaningful occupation. Conclusions Our findings evidence the complex and contradictory impact on occupational rehabilitation and employment resulting from the public–private partnerships established for Union army veterans. These partnerships were based on substantially different notions of disability needs and rights than those underlying the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its central accommodation principle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • American civil war
  • Employment insecurity
  • Pensions
  • People with disabilities
  • Veterans disability claims

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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