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American exceptionalism, American anxiety : wages, competition, and degraded labor in the Antebellum United States / Jonathan A. Glickstein.

By: Glickstein, Jonathan A, 1948-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2002Description: x, 361 p. ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0813921155 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780813921150 (cloth : alk. paper).Subject(s): Labor -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Working poor -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Wages -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Subsistence economy -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Work ethic -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Capitalism -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Social classes -- Northeastern States -- History -- 19th century | Slavery -- Southern States -- History -- 19th century | Labor economics -- United States -- States -- History -- 19th century | Competition -- United States -- States -- History -- 19th century | United States -- Economic conditions -- To 1865 | Exceptionalism -- United StatesDDC classification: 331/.0973/09034 Other classification: 15.85
Contents:
Introduction -- The world's dirty work and the wages that sweeten it -- Pressures from below : chattel slavery, and the ideological construction of free-market labor incentives -- "Buy cheap, sell dear" -- Further social constructions of the market mechanisms, economic justice, and competitive hierarchy -- George M. Weston and slave labor : free labor, Gresham's Law, and antebellum cultural anxieties -- Convict labor, free labor, and Gresham's Law -- The "pauper labor" of the old world, free labor, and Gresham's Law -- Some elaborations and conclusions.
Review: "The Mythology of nineteenth-century American economic exceptionalism trumpeted the positive work incentives prevailing in a society of scarce labor, weak class barriers, and abundant opportunity. This ideology agreed with the optimistic vein of political economy, in which high wages went hand in hand with increased productivity. What, then, was the supposed role of poverty, the fear of poverty, and other negative work incentives in the era of early industrial capitalism and escalating sectional conflict over slavery? American Exceptionalism, American Anxiety examines a wide spectrum of antebellum American thought on these and related issues, including slavery and cheap immigrant and female sweated labor."--BOOK JACKET.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
HD8070 .G578 2002 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001950419

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Introduction -- The world's dirty work and the wages that sweeten it -- Pressures from below : chattel slavery, and the ideological construction of free-market labor incentives -- "Buy cheap, sell dear" -- Further social constructions of the market mechanisms, economic justice, and competitive hierarchy -- George M. Weston and slave labor : free labor, Gresham's Law, and antebellum cultural anxieties -- Convict labor, free labor, and Gresham's Law -- The "pauper labor" of the old world, free labor, and Gresham's Law -- Some elaborations and conclusions.

"The Mythology of nineteenth-century American economic exceptionalism trumpeted the positive work incentives prevailing in a society of scarce labor, weak class barriers, and abundant opportunity. This ideology agreed with the optimistic vein of political economy, in which high wages went hand in hand with increased productivity. What, then, was the supposed role of poverty, the fear of poverty, and other negative work incentives in the era of early industrial capitalism and escalating sectional conflict over slavery? American Exceptionalism, American Anxiety examines a wide spectrum of antebellum American thought on these and related issues, including slavery and cheap immigrant and female sweated labor."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Was the antebellum US a land of plenty or was the prosperity of its workers subject to degradation from both domestic and foreign sources of cheap labor? Glickstein (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) argues that antebellum journalists and other commentators were highly conflicted on this issue, but that pessimistic attitudes predominated. The first few chapters take up general antebellum views of the US labor market, while later chapters focus on the specific threats to free-worker status perceived to be posed by Southern chattel slavery, prison labor, and imports produced by European low wage labor. The sheer mass of material assembled by Glickstein does establish the plausibility of his argument. However, the book suffers from convoluted style and organization. The reader is constantly jerked back and forth in both the text and the enormous array of endnotes between commentaries on the text of a specific antebellum writer, the work of other contemporary writers, the subsequent literature by historians related to the topic at hand, and even work on the current Third World. But the persistent reader will be rewarded by Glickstein's wide reading and the intriguing interpretations he proposes. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and faculty collections. D. Mitch University of Maryland Baltimore County

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Jonathan A. Glickstein is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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