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Lecture 16

HIST 2110Y Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Papist, Equal Exchange, Wage Labour

Course Code
HIST 2110Y
Jeremy Milloy

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HIST-2110Y January 29, 2013
American Machines: Industrialization, Urbanization, Immigration
“The man who labored for another last year, this year labors for himself, and next year he
will hire others to labor for him.” – Abraham Lincoln, 1856
Labour fundamental for class mobility
Wage labour is a tide that will lift everyones’ boat
Lifting people out of poverty
“But the great mass wear out their health, spirits, and morals, without becoming one whit
better off than when they commenced labor…We stand and look at these hard working
men and women hurrying in all directions, and ask ourselves, where go the proceeds of
their labor? The man who employs them…” – Orestes Brownson, 1840
The wealth they are producing goes to the factory owners, not to them
“Her occupation is as laborious as that of almost any female who earns her own living,
while it has also its sunny spots and its cheerful intervals, which make her hard labor
seem comparatively pleasant and easy.A Lowell Factory Worker, 1845
Saying we have to work really hard, but there is some upside to it
Co-workers making the job better
“It is odd to watch with what feverish ardor the Americans pursue prosperity and how
they are ever tormented by the shadowy suspicion that they may not have chosen the
shortest route to get it. They have abolished the troublesome privileges of some of their
fellows, but they come up against the competition of all…” – Alexis de Tocqueville, 1831
A French historical who toured America
Everyone knows they have a place in society in Europe
In America everyone thinks they can get to the top, although not everyone can
make it to the top, it is all about you and if you can make yourself come to the top
Last week we explored a Southern society that fancied itself to be about rank, and
order, a good life for all, even slaves, in which everyone knew their place
This week we explore a Northern society increasingly premised on ideals of
ambition and MOBILITY, both geographical and social; that through moving and
striving, anyone could make it in America
We’ll also explore the material and social changes that underscored these ideas,
As well as the changes in the lives and roles of Northern women in the mid-19th
Again, keep in mind that Northern society and Southern are developing along
very different lines, with very different views of the future
This will lead to confrontation when America’s acquisition of vast new territories
raises the question: what future for America?
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HIST-2110Y January 29, 2013
Major Topics
Immigration and NATIVISM
The Lives of Northern Women
Urbanization, Immigration, and Nativism
The rapid industrialization of the Northeast, which was just getting started in the
1820s and 1830s, was now in full swing
Factories were being built everywhere, factory towns were hastily slapped
together around them, cities swelled, immigrants arrived looking for work
Eastern farmers who could no longer work the land, German Catholics, and Irish
Catholics were the majority of the new arrivals
Small number of industrialists grew incredibly wealthy because of the labour of
the millions who toiled in factories, under dangerous conditions for poor pay
An urban middle class of managers and professionals grew, but most of all, this
period was marked by the explosive growth of the industrial WORKING CLASS
Overall standard of living grew for Americans, but inequality between rich and
workers grew much faster
In 1840 value of US manufacturing goods was $483 million; by 1860: just under
$2 billion
The Northeast was America’s industrial heartland, producing over 2/3 of the
goods and employing over 2/3 of the nation’s manufacturing goods
Technological advances, like interchangeable parts and steam power, allowed
manufacturing to be located almost anywhere, and done more profitably
In the 1700s, the merchant traders had stood atop Northern society; now it was
increasingly the industrialists who had the greatest wealth and exercised the
greatest power and influence
Their power and status made them formidable adversaries for workers trying to
improve their lives
The new legal form of the corporation was really catching on, which enabled
greater investment and industrial expansion
Railways connected the country, especially the industrial Northeast and the
agricultural Northwest
Building these railroads was the biggest project in US history at that point, and
required massive investments from private capital and state and local
These railways bonded the NW and the NE, but increasingly isolated the South
Between Northeastern farmers moving off the land and German and Irish farmers
looking for work, America became an urban nation as never before
Between 1840-60, populations of Boston, Philadelphia and NYC all doubled
While most Americans still lived in rural areas, 26 % of northerners lived in cities
by 1860, double the number in 1840 (in the South, only 10% did)
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