This early work by Richard T. Ely was originally published in 1908 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. 'Economic Theory and Labor Legislation' is an academic essay on the history and development of economic ideas in relation to labor legislation. Richard Theodore Ely was born on 13th April 1854, in Ripley, New York, United States. Ely began his academic career as a professor and head of the Department of Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he worked from 1881 to 1892. During this period, Ely co-founded the American Economic Association and served as the group's secretary. He stood as President of the organisation between 1899 and 1901. The Association still titles its annual keynote address the 'Richard T. Ely Lecture' in recognition of his services to the field. Ely published many works on politics and economics, including The Labor Movement in America (1886), Elementary Principles of Economics (1904), Property and Contract in their Relations to the Distribution of Wealth (1914), Russian Land Reform (1916), and many more.