Labor and The Civil War

| February 25, 2014

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The “dignity of labor” was integral to the Union and Confederate visions of the American Republic both before and after the Civil War. Develop a 4-5-page essay that discusses how the notion of “free labor” changed from the beginning of the Civil War to the end. In developing your essay you may consider which types of “labor” were considered honorable and which were not as well as how changes shaped the lives of particular people from approximately 1850-1877. Your paper should be 4-5 full pages with proper citations. As always, use examples from course readings and lectures to support your argument.
Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood(Chapter 2 ,4, 5, and Conclusion)
Marc Reinhardt, Who Speaks for Margaret Garner(Intro and Chapters 1, 2, 3,9)
Drew Gilpin Foust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War(Chapters 1, 2, & 3
David Roediger, Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class( Chapters 5, 6 , 7)
Declaration of Seneca Falls:
Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?:”
Use Quotations from these course readings!!!!
Use Quotations from these course readings!!!!
Use Quotations from these course readings!!!!
Tips for Esaay
As you tackle paper two, I invite you to make use of any and all readings
from the course syllabus. Some (Eastman) will be less useful than others
(Roediger, Cott, primary sources during those weeks), but I encourage
essays that move chronologically beyond the 1850-1877 dates stipulated in
the prompt. To repeat, it is acceptable to write an essay that considers
the period before the Civil War–though you must at least mention the
Reading the prompt, don’t get hung up on the scare quotes around "dignity
of labor" or the mention of Union and Confederate visions. Instead, replace
Union and Confederate with, respectively, North and South (regions of the
country), and consider the arguments for (and against) and lived
experiences of the contrasting labor systems.
For example, how did the publicity surrounding Margaret Garner’s life
illustrate competing visions (plantation slavery vs. wage labor) of the
American economy? How did the entrance of women into the northern wage work
force exemplify but also complicate the dignity (respectability) of free
labor? How, argues Roediger, did northern wage laborers underline the
dignity of wage laborer by contrast to southern slaves and slavery?
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Category: History

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