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The Vote, Unions & the Farm. AMERICAN POLITICAL EXCEPTIONALISM IN THE 19 TH CENTURY. KNOW. LEARN. LIBERTY IS EXPLOITATION. WANT TO LEARN. TEACH THE OUTGROWTHS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY VOTE.
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The Vote, Unions & the Farm AMERICAN POLITICAL EXCEPTIONALISM IN THE 19TH CENTURY
KNOW LEARN LIBERTY IS EXPLOITATION WANT TO LEARN
TEACH THE OUTGROWTHS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY VOTE • As the revolutionary fervor of the war for independence cooled, the new American republic might easily have hardened into rule by an aristocracy. Instead, the electoral franchise expanded and the democratic creed transformed every aspect of American society.
Who Were Americans in the Antebellum period? • Unique, largely classless system • Religious – owned a Bible & Shakespeare • Land Hungry – Manifest Destiny – “Vote Yourself a Farm” – Mexican-American War • A Nation of Voters • Literary focus was on nature & on self-reliance
ANTEBELLUM AMERICA We define ourselves http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/TOUR/home.html
EMERSON • Individualism • Self-Reliance LYCEUMS – PHILOSOPHY WAS A POPULAR PASTTIME
Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great men have always done so, and confided themselves childlike to the genius of their age, betraying their perception that the absolutely trustworthy was seated at their heart, working through their hands, predominating in all their being. And we are now men, and must accept in the highest mind the same transcendent destiny; and not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers, and benefactors, obeying the Almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark.
Henry David Thoreau Walden Pond “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”
Uncle Tom's Cabin can be read as a point of arrival in a long American quest to evolve a morality out of the Puritan heritage, the words of the chartering documents of the Republic, the ethos of the Enlightenment, and the values of Transcendentalism. See Reader’s Theatre
MEET My FRIENDS – CHARTISTSIN AMERICA • THOMAS AINGE DEVYR • WILLIAM JAMES LINTON • DANIEL WEAVER • AND P.S. ANDREW CARNEGIE & ALLAN PINKERTON MAKING THE CASE FOR CASE STUDIES, HISTORY THROUGH BIOGRAPHY
CHARTIST DREAMS It was common for people who had battled for universal manhood suffrage and annual parliaments in Britain to hail the United States as the exemplar of their dreams. “Here,” proclaimed Irish-born John Binns from Philadelphia, “the people are sovereign.”
CHARTISTS EXPELLED FROM BRITAIN FOR PRESENTING THE CHARTER – A PETITION TO REQUEST THE RIGHT TO VOTE FOR BRITISH WORKING MEN
Peterloo - Manchester 1819 - St Peter's Fields, armed cavalry charged a peaceful crowd of around 60,000 people gathered to listen to anti-poverty and pro-democracy speakers. It is estimated that 18 were killed, and over 700 seriously injured.
BRITISH REFORM ACT OF 1832 • *Vote rose from 435,000 to 652,000 (1 in 7 men) • *56 rotten boroughs removed • large industrial cities were given more MP's • But : *No secret ballot • After 1832- numerous factory and mines acts TO PREVENT abuse of child and women labor
REFORM ACTs OF 1867 & 1884 1867 – wealthier urban workers could vote • Franchise increased to 2.5 million but there were 30 million people in Britain. Poor still denied the vote • 45 constituencies were moved to towns and cities from small rural/countryside areas But : No women could vote & No secret ballot 1872 -Secret Ballot Act 1884 -Third Reform Act increased the number of working class men who could vote to 5 mil men
LABORERSDON’T GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE UNTIL AFTER WWITHEY DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO STRIKE & ORGANIZE UNTIL 20th century
WHAT MAKES AMERICA DIFFERENT? • THE VOTE • Legal unions • AND THE FARM It is that simple and that complex. What changes as a result of the vote? Of the ability to form unions? OR farm?
Horace Greeley, The Junius Tracts on Labor & Capital: There were nearly as many dreams as there were Chartists. So the 19th century saw promise in America; its institutions promised them Much, its vast public lands and rapidly emerging industries promises more.
American labor commands its own price…compact…is made Freely…the workers are held in respect…The political position Of labor here is all-powerful…As a nation of workers we demand From Government a security for the interests and rights of labor… The rights of labor…secured at the ballot box…The free American Laborer is the most powerful, and may well be the proudest of men. 1844
American labor Advantages over European are manifest: But the position of labor in this country is, in a variety of important particulars, a new one in society. 1) It is free—with the EXCEPTION OF AFRICAN SLAVE LABOR. This implies a practical be alternative to working on wages at the price fixed by the employer. In Europe… the laborer is compelled to work at the price in which he has no voice or he must starve… European labor is a state of slavery without hope.
DEVYR, The Odd Book of the 19th Century Devyr expressed this belief when he was arraigned in Newcastle before “their masquerading lordships in their black gowns and white wigs.” One of them reproached Devyr and his Chartist associates for “committing not only a crime but a folly, in assuming that the mass could govern, instead of being governed.”
DEVYR To which the irrepressible Devyr replied: “It is a glorious sunset streaming through that gothic window. Did your lordship ever hear of a great country lying away in the direction of that setting sun? Did you hear that its people assume to govern themselves? Actually do the very thing that your lordship informs us cannot be done?”
ANTI-RENT Serfdom existed in Dutch NY – a vestige of the patroon system still in existence in mid-19th century
ANTI-WAGE SLAVERY DEVYR HATED ABOLITIONISTS. He worked with Fitzhugh against abolition because he believed freed slaves would compete with labor, driving down Wages. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lincolns/nation/vid_wages.html
DEVYR JOINS HENRY GEORGE IN THE “VOTE YOURSELF A FARM” MOVEMENT REPUBLICAN LINCOLN INFURIATES DEVYR FOR STEALING THEIR PLATFORM IN 1860. LINCOLN MAKES THE DREAM REAL IN THE HOMESTEAD ACT OF 1862
A FARM MEANS… • DIGNITY • INDIVIDUALISM • EGALITARIANISM = SHAKING HANDS • CABALLERO (HORSEMAN) TRANSLATE TO “GENTLEMEN • AMERICANS ARE CITIZENS, NOT SUBJECTS
AMERICA IN THE ROMANTIC AGE IS PRACTICAL AND CELEBRATORY • Isn’t that logical? • Free land • Vote • Wilderness • Real Heroes • With the dark cloud of chattel slavery
FREED SLAVES WOULD COMPETE WITH LABOR http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/homestead-act/
AMERICA – THE HOME TO INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICANISM & DREAMS Shakers Kossuth Garibaldi Oneida – anti-slavery
COMES TO THE US VOLUNTARILY TO MAKE MONEY AND USE FREE SPEECH TO FURTHER THE CAUSE OF INTERNATIONAL REPULICANISM OF MAZZINI, KOSSUTH, ETC. INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN ARTISAN ENGRAVER WITHOUT THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN Britain WILLIAM LINTON
LINTON TO BEGIN A UTOPIAN REPUBLIC IN MONTANA • Jay Gould’s gold scandal and loss of the Northern Pacific spells its end.
LINTON INTRODUCES AMERICA TO THE BRITISH: • RHYTHM AND BEAUTY OF SLAVE SPIRITUALS • And WALT Whitman Whitman celebrated the freedom and dignity of the individual and sang the praises of democracy and the brotherhood of man. In 1855 Whitman published Leaves of Grass (Song of Myself) in which the author proclaims himself the symbolic representative of common people.
WHITMAN • I celebrate myself; / And what I assume you shall assume; / For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.—Leaves of Grass
I Hear America Singing By Walt Whitman I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear; Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong; The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam, The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work; The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck; The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown; The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work— or of the girl sewing or washing—Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else; The day what belongs to the day—at night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
THRILLED WITH THE OPPORTUNITY • CHARTISTS TEACH AMERICANS TO ORGANIZE LABOR • CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL MEANS • MUCH MORE PEACEFUL THAN IN EUROPE
DANIEL WEAVER • CHARTIST – ORGANIZES THE FIRST NATIONAL MINE WORKERS UNION IN ILLINOIS. (John Bates, another Chartist, led a local union in Pennsylvania.) • ALL key players in the inception of union were British-born and Chartist. Organizers had no American precedents. Early efforts of 1830s/40s no longer applicable due to new industrial systems and wider range of competituion resulting from better transportation.
Weaver uses Press • The Weekly Miner • Includes all groups (various nationalities, etc.) Sets precedent for future national labor organizations.
Civil War • Aided Labor • Put new value on coal for wartime purposes • Put new value on labor because it was being drawn off for soldiers and not replenished from Europe. • LABOR NEGOTIATION MOST SUCCESSFUL DURING AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER WAR