[Get Solution] Divided Americans

L01 Reflective Discussion Overview Initial Post (Introduction/Reflection) Begin this discussion by introducing yourself. Tell us your name and one reason you’re interested in the Civil War era. Then, in the same post, answer these question: Did anything surprise you about the factors that united the North and the South or that divided them, ca. 1848? What were they and why? Finally, what do you think is the most important factor that united or divided Americans in that era? Be sure to use evidence from the lesson or readings to help explain your reaction. Your initial post, containing your introduction and reflection, is due by Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx L01 Overview This semester, we will be exploring the history of the United States during the Civil War era (roughly 1848-1877). This lesson will introduce the major questions we will answer in this class and examine the factors that united and divided Americans, ca. 1848. Lesson Objectives Identify the major issues in U.S. society in 1848 Summarize social, political, cultural, and economic conditions in the U.S. in 1848 Identify the differences between primary and secondary sources Readings Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing History, p. 8-23, 31-38 (Course Reserves) Lesson 1 Documents Assignments Complete L01 Reflective Discussion This is a two-part assignment. Your initial post is due Thursday at 11:59 PM EST. Your reply posts are due Sunday at 11:59 PM EST Below is the information for this assignment:   1Two Views of the Lowell Mills (1898, 1847)Lowell, Massachusetts, was the center of the U.S. textile industry during the antebellum era. Founded in the 1820s as a company town by Boston Associates, Lowell grew quickly, and by 1845, over 30,000 people lived there. Many of Lowell’s factory workers, sometimes called “operatives,”were young, unmarried women often referred to as“mill girls.”In the first account, Harriet Robinsonreflects on the social hierarchy in Lowell, based on the position oneheld at the factories. In 1832 the factory population of Lowell was divided into four classes. The agents of the corporations were the aristocrats, not because of their wealth, but on account of the office they held, which was one of great responsibility, requiring, as it did, not only some knowledge of business, but also a certain tact in managing, or utilizing the great number of operatives so as to secure the best return for their labor. The agent was also something of an autocrat, and there was no appeal from his decision in matters affecting the industrial interests of those who were employed on his corporation.The agents usually lived in large houses, not too near the boarding-houses, surrounded by beautiful gardens which seemed like Paradise to some of the home-sick girls, who, as they came from their work in the noisy mill, could look with longing eyes into the sometimes open gate in the high fence, and be reminded afresh of their pleasant country homes….The second class were the overseers, a sort of gentry, ambitious mill-hands who had worked up from the lowest grade of factory labor; and they usually lived in the end-tenements of the blocks, the short connected rows of houses in which the operatives were boarded. However, on one corporation, at least, there was a block devoted exclusively to the overseers, and one of the wives, who had been a factory girl, put on so many airs that the wittiest of her former work-mates fasted the name of ‘Puckersville’ to the whole block where the overseers lived. It was related to one of these quondam factory girls, that, with some friends, she once re-visited the room in which she used to work, and, to show her genteel friends her ignorance of her old surroundings, she turned to the overseer, who was with the party, and pointing to some wheels and pulleys over her head, she said, ‘What’s them things up there?’The third class were the operatives, and were all spoken of as “girls” or “men”…“The fourth class, lords of the spade and the shovel, by whose constantlabor the building of the great factorieswas made possible, and whose children soon became valuable operatives, lived at first on what was called the ‘Acre,’ a locality near the present site of the North Grammar schoolhouse. Here, clustered around a small stone Catholic Church, were hundreds of little shanties, in which they dwelt with their wives and numerous children…. The agents were paid only fair salaries, the overseers generally two dollars per day, and the help all earned good wages. By this it will be seen that there were no very rich persons in Lowell, nor were there any ‘suffering poor,’ since every man, woman, and 2child, (over ten years of age) could get work, and was paid according to the work each was capable of doing…. By this it will be seen that there could not have been much aristocracy of wealth; but (as in most manufacturing cities to-day), there was a class feeling, which divided the people, though not their interests. For, as has been said, the corporation guarded well the interestsof its employees; and as the mill-hands looked to the factories for their support, they worked as one man (and one woman) to help increase the growing prosperity of the city, which had given to them a new and permanent means of earning a livelihood.In this next document, a mill workeridentified only as “R.” describesworking conditions in the factories, providing a contrasting account oflife inLowell.Since I was between seven and eight years old, I have been employed almost without intermission in afactory, which is almost 18 years. During this time I have not attended school more than one year. Probably not that. So whatever you may think of my composition, you must acknowledge I ought to be a judge of factory life. I should like to give you my whole experience, but this would take too much room. And beside, you would hardly believe what I should state, although it would be true, so I will confine myself to Lowell, the place where operatives are used as well, I think as any place in New England. I do not wonder at your surprise that the operatives were worked in the summer season, from five in the morning till seven in the evening. Especially when you had been previously informed that we worked but ten hours per day. But ‘tis true, we do all this, and against our wishes too. I know scarcely an operative, who would not have it otherwise if they could. But they do not wish their wages cut down, for they have barely enough to live on now. The time we are required to labor is altogether too long. It is more than our constitutions can bear. If any one doubts it, let them come into our mills of a summer’s day, at four or five o’clock, in the afternoon, and see the drooping, weary persons moving about, as though their legs were hardly able to support their bodies. If this does not convince them, let them try their hand at it a while, and they will find the thing demonstrated at once. In fact there is nothing more common amongst operatives, than the remark that “their legs ache so, it seems as though they woulddrop off.” Now if they desired to work so long, they would not complain in this way. I have been an overseer myself, and many times have I had girls faint in the morning, in the consequence of the air being so impure in the mill. This is quite a common thing. Especially when girls have worked in the factory for considerable length of time. We commence as soon –and work as long as we can see almost the year round, and for nearly half the year we work by lamp light, at both ends of the day lighting up both morning and evening. And besides this, from November till March our time is from twenty minutes to half an hour too slow. So you see instead of getting out of the factory at half past seven o’clock in the evening, it is reallyeight. And more than this some of the clocks are so fixed as to lose ten minutes during the day and gain ten minutes during the night, thereby getting us into the mill five minutes before five in the morning and working us five minutes after seven at night. As to wages, the proprietors do not calculate the average wages of females, to exceed one dollar fifty cents per week, exclusive of board. 3Sources: Harriet H. Robinson, Loom and Spindle, or Life Among the Early Mill Girls(New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, [1898]), 13-15, 17-18; Voice of Industry, 26 March 1847, in The Factory Girls: A Collection of Writings on Life and Struggles in the New England Factories of the 1840’s, ed. Philip S. Foner(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977), 87-88.A SouthernPolitician Emphasizes the Importance of Southern Agriculture (1861)In 1861, London journalist William Howard Russell encountered Texas Senator Louis T. Wigfall, who offered the Englishman his thoughts on the importance of agriculture to the southern states. Although the South did have both cities and factories –which Wigfall insists it did not –many southerners shared the Texan’s beliefs that the region’s economy should remain primarily agricultural.We are a peculiar people, sir! You don’t understand us, and you can’t understand us, because we are known to you only by Northern writers and Northern papers, who know nothing of us themselves, or misrepresent what they do know. We are an agricultural people; we are a primitive but civilized people. We have no cities –we don’t want them. We have no literature –we don’t need any yet. We have no press –we are glad of it. We do not require a press, because we go out and discuss all public questions from the stump with our people. We have no commercial marine –no navy –we don’t want them. We are better without them. Your ships carry our produce, and you can protect your own vessels. We want no manufactures: we desire no trading, no mechanical or manufacturing classes. As long as we have our rice, our sugar, our tobacco,and our cotton, we can command wealth to purchase all we want from those nations with which we are in amity, and to lay up money besides.Source: William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South(Boston: T.O.H.P. Burnham, 1863), 179.Frederick Law Olmsted DescribesAttitudes TowardPoor Whites in the Antebellum South (1856)During the 1850s and early 1860s, New York TimesjournalistFrederick Law Olmstedpublished several accounts of his travels in the South. In the following excerpt from his book, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, Olmsted recounts information provided to him by Mr. Newman, a North Carolina slaveowner, and provides his own commentary based on his observations. This account reveals how wealthy white southerners viewed poor whites while also The poor white people that had to labor for their living, never would work steadily at any employment. “They mostly followed boating” –hiring ashands on the bateaus that navigate the small streams and canals, but never for a longer term at once than a single trip of a boat, whether that might be long or short. At the end of the trip they were paid by the day. Their wages were from fifty cents to a dollar, varying with the demand and individual capacities. They hardly ever worked on farms except in harvest, when they usually received a dollar a day, sometimes more. In harvest-time, most of the rural mechanics closed their shops and hired out to thefarmers at a dollar a day, which would indicate that their ordinary earnings are considerably less than this. At other than harvest-time, the poor white people, who had no trade, would sometimes work for the farmers by 4the job; not often at any regular agricultural labor, but at getting rails or shingles, or clearing land.[Mr. Newman] did not know that they were particular about working with negroes, but no white man would ever do certain kinds of work (such as taking care of cattle, or getting water or wood to be used in the house), and if you should ask a white man you had hired, to do such things, he would get mad… Poor white girls never hired out to do servants’work, but they would come and help another white woman about her sewing or quilting, and take wages for it. But these girls were not very respectable generally, and it was not agreeable to have them in your house, though there were some very respectable ladies that would go out to sew. Farmers depended almost entirely upon their negroes; it was only when they were hard pushed by their crops, that they got white hands to help them any.Negroes had commanded such high wages lately, to work on railroads and in tobacco-factories1, that farmers were tempted to hire out too many of their people, andto undertake to do too much work with those they retained, and thus they were often driven to employ white men, and to give them very high wages by the day, when they found themselves getting much behind-hand with their crops. He had been driven very hardin this way this last season; he had been so unfortunate as to lose one of his best women, who died in child-bed just before harvest. The loss of the woman and her child, for the child had died also, just at that time, came very hard upon him. He would not have taken a thousand dollars of any man’s money for them. He had had to hire white men to help him, but they were poor sticks and would be half the time drunk, and you never know what to depend upon with them. One fellow that he had hired, who had agreed to work for him all through harvest, got him to pay him some wages in advance, (he said it was to buy him some clothes with, so he could go to meeting, Sunday, at the Court-House,) and went off the next day, right in the middle of harvest, and he never had seen him since. He had heard of him–he was on a boat –but he didn’t reckon he should ever get his money again.Of course, he did not see how white laborers were ever going to come into competition with negroes here, at all. You never could depend on white men, and you couldn’tdrivethem any; they wouldn’t stand it. Slaves were the only reliable laborers –you could command them andmakethem do what was right.From the manner in which he always talked of the white laboring people, it was evident that, although he placed them in some sort on an equality with himself, and that in his intercourse with them he wouldn’t think of asserting for himself any superior dignity, or even feel himself to be patronizing them in not doing so, yet he, all the time, recognized them as a distinct and a rather despicable class, and wanted to have as little to do with them as he conveniently could.1Olmsted is referring to a process commonly called “hiring out” in which slaveowners rented enslaved people to farmers, business owners, and others who needed extra labor. Slaveowners generally kept most, if not all, of the proceeds from those arrangements. 5I have been once or twice told that the poor white people, meaning those, I suppose, who bring nothing to market to exchange for money but their labor, although they may own a cabin and a little furniture, and cultivate land enough to supply themselves with (maize) bread, are worse off in almost all respects than the slaves. They are said to be extremely ignorant and immoral, as well as indolent and unambitious. That their condition is not as unfortunate by any means as that of negroes, however, is most obvious, since from among them, mensometimeselevate themselves to positions and habits of usefulness, and respectability. They are said to “corrupt”the negroes, and to encourage them to steal, or to work for them at night and on Sundays, and to pay them with liquor, and also to constantly associate licentiously with them. They seem, nevertheless, more than any other portion of the community, to hate and despise the negroes.Source: Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States(New York: Dix and Edwards, 1856), 82-86.Allen Parker Recalls Interactions Between Enslaved People and Poor Whites (1895)Allen Parker, an enslaved African American man, lived in eastern North Carolina from his birth in 1838 until 1862, when he gained his freedom by escaping to a U.S. Army gunboat.In this passage from his 1895 memoir of his life in slavery, Parker recalls economicinteractions between enslaved persons and poor white southerners. As you read this account, think about both the reasons enslaved people and poor whites did business with one another and how poor whites used the legal regimes and racial hierarchies of theantebellum South to take advantage of enslaved people. The common allowance of a slave was four quarts of Indian meal and five pounds of salt pork, sometimes one quart of molasses, per week, and all the sweet potatoes that they wanted. Whatever else they had, had to be earned by over work, or by selling a part of their allowance, or as it often happened by selling such supplies as could be stolen from the fields or storehouses upon the plantations. There could always be found a market among the poor whites, for whatever a slave had to sell, though the price paid was often very low, for the slave was in a measure at the mercy of the buyer. Generally the buyer knew or had reasons to suspect that the goods were stolen, and he also knew it was against the lawfor him to buy goods of a slave without knowing that everything was all right. But he knew that the slave could not complain of him without getting into trouble himself, and feeling safe along that line he had only to suggest to the slave that he thought it would be well to consult the master in relation to the trade, this was of course the last thing the slave wanted to have done; for if his master found that he was selling stolen goods, a severe punishment was sure to follow, that is if the goods were stolen from the master’s plantation, and of course the slave knew best as to the proper owner of the goods…. when a slave had anything to sell, he had to be doubly careful. The very fact that he offered anything for sale was considered evidence that it was stolen. It was unlawful for a white man to buy anything of a slave unless he could give a good account of the source from which he got it; and as the masters themselves generally bought what the slaves had 6a right to sell, that is, whatever they raised by working over-time in their little yards, or, perhaps a hog or two and a few chickens they were allowed to keep, there was no occasion for the slave to offer anything for sale anywhere else. But, for all this the slaves did have things to sell, and they well knew where to sell them. There was always some poor white who would either buy the goods or sell them for the benefit of the slaves–for a consideration. As this man generally lived at some distance from this plantation, the stolen goods would have to be taken to him secretly, and in the night, for the night was the slaves’holiday.The slave would eat his supper and take a nap. He would keep very quiet until he thought that the “pattie rollers”(patrolman)had gone home, when he would quietly go to the place where he had hid his stores. Taking them in a bag, which he would throw over his shoulders, he wouldstart for the house of the poor white.Source: Allen Parker, Recollections of Slavery Times(Worcester, MA: Chas. W. Burbank & Co., 1895), 15-16, 57-58

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