By David A. Zonderman

Aspirations and Anxieties is a operating category highbrow historical past of early manufacturing facility operatives in antebellum New England. The e-book makes a speciality of the operatives' perceptions of technological and socio-economic adjustments within the mechanized place of work. The examine uncovers a fancy debate over many points of the manufacturing facility system--the machines and manufacturing facility constructions, wages and hours, family members among managers and employees, and the content material and personality of protest. eventually, the e-book argues that the roots of this debate lie within the fight to outline the which means of labor itself in a interval of profound social swap.

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

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Lucy Larcom began her work in the mills as a bobbin-doffer in the company of other children—their workday was a mix of labor and sport. Some older operatives might have been disturbed that these youngsters had to spend their playtime in the factory, but Larcom thought that such youthful entertainment lightened their tasks. . [T]he work given us was light and for a few weeks it seemed like beginning a new game with a new set of playmates. Replacing the full spools or bobbins with empty ones on the spinning frames was the usual employment given to children.

Because [she] broke up the monotony that was so oppressive to them. Though Fanny was the ringleader for these escapades, other workers were also involved in this intertwining of work and play. In fact, this story clearly shows that workers who wanted to engage in active amusements on the job usually had to depend on the cooperation of others—someone had to at least keep an eye on the machines so that others could carouse. It was simply not possible for operatives to shut down the machines for uninterrupted amusement, so they had to maintain a minimum of vigilance at their work or incorporate the machines into some of their games.

17 Various "reveries" also appeared in the Lowell Offering—in essays the women wrote about how they drifted off into dreamscapes of almost mythical natural beauty, only to be called back to reality by their overseers' reminding them to tend to their machines. These essays showed how workers' imaginations were not destroyed by factory labor, but they also demonstrated that the demands of the machine could not be ignored entirely. Moreover, when these women dreamed, they traveled to places far removed from the factory.

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