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A "New Labor History" of the contours of working-class cultures in antebellum Philadelphia

Working People of Philadelphia, 1800-1850

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Bruce Laurie

"A valuable portrait of the craftsmen, journeymen, factory hands, and laborers in a major industrial city during the antebellum period. Focuses well on working conditions and on the workingman's religious and community life."
The New Leader

Excerpt

Read the Introduction and an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"A fresh and generally persuasive analysis of the dynamics of the American working class in a formative period of American industrialization, an analysis that transcends the boundaries of labor organizations toward a broader social and economic perspective. It deserves close attention."
Winterthur Portfolio

"Bruce Laurie's illumination of the contours of working class culture in antebellum Philadelphia is a tour de force in the rapidly maturing literature of the 'new' social history...."
Pennsylvania History

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Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part I: The Work Setting, 1800-1850
1. The Sources of Industrial Diversity

Part II: The Forging of Working-Class Cultures, 1820-1837
2. Revivalists: The Militias of Christ
3. Traditionalists: "The Boys of Pleasure"
4. Radicals: Thomas Paine's Progeny
5. "We Are All Day Laborers": The General Trades' Union of the City and County of Philadelphia, 1833-1837

Part III: Hard Times, 1837-1844
6. "The Uses of Adversity"

Part IV: Years of Discord, 1845-1850
7. Workers at Bay
8. Varieties of Radicalism

Part V: Epilogue
9. Radicalism United and Divided

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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About the Author(s)

Bruce Laurie is Professor and Director of the History Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Subject Categories

History
Labor Studies and Work
Philadelphia Region

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