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Work and the Market Revolution:

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Jarod Roll

on 2 February 2016

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Transcript of Work and the Market Revolution:

Work and the Market Revolution:
Artisans and servants, 1810-1850

Dr. Roll
HIS 318
Studying the history of workers and work:
--bottom-up perspective on capitalism
--voices of ordinary people
--taking them seriously: ideas, experience, culture, politics
Artisanal Republic:
--Masters, journeymen, apprentices
--skilled crafts, like shoe-making, carpentry, tailoring, printing, weaving
--yeomen farmers: owned land, teams, tools
key features:
--control of the work and workplace
--no fixed workday or workweek
--independence, control
Artisanal culture:
--basis of "manliness" and political independence
--master or yeoman had authority over dependents, whether apprentices or women and children
--core of American republicanism, link to ideals of the Revolution
Not always nice:
--authority gave men control over labor of others
--women had no public standing or place in the artisanal republic
Market Revolution:
--commercial relationships take on power
--cash economy
--producing for future demand, not immediate orders
--planning, investment, cost accounting

Market Revolution began as a revolution in transportation:
--gravel and plank road building from 1790s
--canal construction from 1820s (Erie Canal, 1825)
--railroad construction from 1830s (B&O, 1835)
--altered speed and distance
--created new regional and national markets
--Demand for and production of: more manufactured goods, like hoes, shovels, harrows, plows
--growth of old cities: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore
--rise of new cities, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago
--new demand for unskilled labor
Broke down artisanal system:
--increase in scale of production as masters became employers
--journeymen and apprentices became employees
--shops grew larger, hours lengthened, wages became central focus of work
--social mobility stalled
--less and less likely that a journeyman would go on to own his own business
--new immigration, 1820s-1840s
--Irish, unskilled labor
--Germans, skilled labor, brought associational experience with them
Rise of Trade Unions, 1827-1837:
--began with journeymen
--by craft
--usually reserved for white men
--trying to overcome disruptions in the artisanal republic, look to American Revolution as inspiration and justification
--Mechanics Union of Trade Associations, formed in Philadelphia in 1827, first association of craft unions
"The real object, therefore, of this association, is to avert, if possible, the desolating evils which much inevitably arise from a depreciation of the intrinsic value of human labour and to assist . . . in establishing a just balance of power, both mental, moral, political, and scientific, between all the various classes and individuals which constitute society at large."
Commonwealth v. Hunt: Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that upheld the legality of trade unions, provided they did not engage in illegal acts
--Working Men's Parties, 1830s
--broader calls for economic and political reform, 1840s
--arguments against both the rise of an American aristocracy and their own "enslavement" to the wage system
Full transcript