The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City, 1760-1900

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 29, 1989 - History - 434 pages
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Of all the terms with which Americans define themselves as members of society, few are as elusive as "middle class." This book traces the emergence of a recognizable and self-aware "middle class" between the era of the American Revolution and the end of the nineteenth century. The author focuses on the development of the middle class in larger American cities, particularly Philadelphia and New York. He examines the middle class in all its complexity, and in its day-to-day existence--at work, in the home, and in the shops, markets, theaters, and other institutions of the big city. The book places the new language of class---in particular the new term "middle class"--in the context of the concrete, interwoven experiences of specific anonymous Americans who were neither manual workers nor members of urban upper classes.
  

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Contents

The elusive middle class
1
Middling sorts in the eighteenthcentury city
17
nonmanual work in Jacksonian
66
work wellbeing and social
108
consumption urban
138
voluntary associations and
192
Experience and consciousness in the antebellum city
230
the postbellum middle class
258
City town village farm the geography
298
Notes
311
Bibliography
389
Index
424
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About the author (1989)

Blumin is Professor of American History at Cornell University.

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