Aspirations and Anxieties: New England Workers and the Mechanized Factory System, 1815-1850

By David A. Zonderman | Go to book overview

Introduction

I

This book is based on a series of simple, yet vital, questions in American labor history: what did the first American factory workers think about the origins of the industrial system? What did these men and women have to say, in their own words, about their experiences as technological pioneers? What was it like to be part of that first wave of workers moving from farms to factories? Did the perceptions and actions of the first operatives, at the cutting edge of a massive economic change that would spread across the nation over the nineteenth century, shape the attitudes of industrial workers in succeeding generations?

In seeking to answer these basic questions, I have conducted an intensive and extensive analysis of the working lives of factory operatives in antebellum New England. These workers were a significant part of the first generation of Americans to face a mechanized, integrated system of factory production. And their perceptions of technological and socioeconomic change shed much light on how working Americans first responded to the beginnings of the mechanized factory system.

A definition of "a mechanized factory system" is certainly in order at the outset of this study, since these mechanized workplaces are the principal setting for this investigation. I have determined mechanized factory systems to be those work sites where machines, driven by external sources of power, performed a substantial number of steps in the production process. The production process itself was divided into a number of discrete tasks and then integrated within factory buildings. The work force was often sizeable in number, and usually organized in some hierarchical fashion. Wages, working hours, and regulations were also frequently defined in a precise manner. It was the combination of these factors that gave the mechanized factory system its basic form, while each factory had its own unique variations on this fundamental structure.

The industries examined in this study -- textile mills, paper mills, armories, clock factories, ropewalks, metalworking and machine shops -- were the first ones to bring these factors together to create mechanized manufacturing systems. Yet these

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aspirations and Anxieties: New England Workers and the Mechanized Factory System, 1815-1850
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 357

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.