Is it true? Can it be said? That we as Americans, historically and to this day, focus too much/for our inspiration depend on knowing of and attaching ourselves to heroic leaders rather than people’s struggles and the "small" victories, the progress, that comes from their unity?

This post is mostly all excerpts from the reading. This chapter is easily relatable and invaluable information to the current revolution taking place in our country and all over the world...you can read the entire chapter, here. I respectfully implore that you do so..

“The stories of the Anti-Renter movement and Dorr's Rebellion are not usually found in textbooks on United States history. In these books, given to millions of young Americans, there is little on class struggle in the nineteenth century. The period before and after the Civil War is filled with politics, elections, slavery, and the race question. Even where specialized books on the Jacksonian period deal with labor and economic issues they center on the presidency, and thus perpetuate the traditional dependency on heroic leaders rather than people's struggles.”

“Andrew Jackson said he spoke for "the humble members of society- the farmer, mechanics and laborers... ." He certainly did not speak for the Indians being pushed off their lands, or slaves. But the tensions aroused by the developing factory system, the growing immigration, required that the government develop a mass base of support among whites. "Jacksonian Democracy" did just that.”

“Jackson was the first President to master the liberal rhetoric-to speak for the common man. This was a necessity for political victory when the vote was being demanded-as in Rhode Island-by more and more people, and state legislatures were loosening voting restrictions...
It was the new politics of ambiguity-speaking for the lower and middle classes to get their support in times of rapid growth and potential turmoil. The two-party system came into its own in this time. To give people a choice between two different parties and allow them, in a period of rebellion, to choose the slightly more democratic one was an ingenious mode of control.”

“Such new forms of political control were needed in the turbulence of growth, the possibility of rebellion. Now there were canals, railroads, the telegraph. In 1790, fewer than a million Americans lived in cities; in 1840 the figure was 11 million. New York had 130,000 people in 1820, a million by 1860.”

“In Philadelphia, working-class families lived fifty-five to a tenement, usually one room per family, with no garbage removal, no toilets, no fresh air or water. There was fresh water newly pumped from the Schuylkill River, but it was going to the homes of the rich.”

“In New York you could see the poor lying in the streets with the garbage. There were no sewers in the slums, and filthy water drained into yards and alleys, into the cellars where the poorest of the poor lived, bringing with it a typhoid epidemic in 1837, typhus in 1842. In the cholera epidemic of 1832, the rich fled the city; the poor stayed and died.”

“These poor could not be counted on as political allies of the government. But they were there-like slaves, or Indians-invisible ordinarily, a menace if they rose. Also, there was the new urban white-collar worker, born in the rising commerce of the time, described by Thomas Cochran and William Miller (The Age of Enterprise):
“Dressed in drab alpaca, hunched over a high desk, this new worker credited and debited, indexed and filed, wrote and stamped invoices, acceptances, bills of lading, receipts. Adequately paid, he had some extra money and leisure time. He patronized sporting events and theaters, savings banks and insurance companies. he read Day's New York Sun or Bennett's Herald-the "penny press" supported by advertising, filled with police reports, crime stories, etiquette advice for the rising bourgeoisie...”

“This was the advance guard of a growing class of white-collar workers and professionals in America who would be wooed enough and paid enough to consider themselves members of the bourgeois class, and to give support to that class in times of crisis.
Here, the Boston rich are described by Thomas Cochran and William Miller (The Age of Enterprise):
Living sumptuously on Beacon Hill, admired by their neighbors for their philanthropy and their patronage of art and culture, these men traded in State Street while overseers ran their factories, managers directed their railroads, agents sold their water power and real estate. They were absentee landlords in the most complete sense. Uncontaminated by the diseases of the factory town, they were also protected from hearing the complaints of their workers or suffering mental depression from dismal and squalid surroundings. In the metropolis, art, literature, education, science, flowered in the Golden Day; in the industrial towns children went to work with their fathers and mothers, schools and doctors were only promises, a bed of one's own was a rare luxury.”




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