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Minding the MachineLanguages of Class in Early Industrial America$
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Stephen Rice

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520227811

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520227811.001.0001

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The Antebellum Popular Discourse on Mechanization

The Antebellum Popular Discourse on Mechanization

(p.12) Chapter 1 The Antebellum Popular Discourse on Mechanization
Minding the Machine

Stephen P. Rice

University of California Press

This chapter examines the popular discourse on mechanization in antebellum America. It explains that though the presence of machines in the workplace was by no means the dominant reality, the extent to which mechanization figured in popular discussion outstripped its actual pace in the workplace. Men and women discussed new machinery in newspapers, periodicals, lectures, and sermons and they frequently wrote and spoke as if the machine was present everywhere. One site of mechanized production that was widely discussed during the antebellum decades was the textile mill.

Keywords:   mechanization, popular discourse, antebellum America, machines, textile mill

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