The Mid-Nineteenth Century was an exciting as well as a stressful time. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and it brought faster communications and faster transportation. America was on the move, from coast to coast and from up the class scale. However unsettled issues from the founding of the country still plagued the population.
For instance, there is no mention of banking in the U.S. Constitution. The politicians tried to establish a National bank but they failed to last. The states took over banking issues. They were allowed to control the money supply and economy of a growing country. This did not always work well. The Civil War brought on more complications to the economies of both the North and the South. Printing money for the first time seems to be the way to keep the money supply from cutting off. Too much money in the supply can bring on other economic problems. The coins dry up as the population hoards them for their silver and gold content. How does one make change?
Queen Victoria set the tone for the period named after her and America copied much from the English (and the French). The marketable sewing machine brings many changes in fashion. Clothing for men becomes more standard as stores begin selling men’s clothing on the racks. Women’s begin to change more rapidly. The mills and looms become better and fabrics reflect the colorful time of the century.
The Industrial Revolution creates a larger middle class than had been seen before. The upper class was increasing as well. Proper manners were needed as the society became more mobile and people wanted to know how to behave. Social rules were based one’s ability to restrain their tongue and actions. Etiquette books for written to aid the mobile population. Most were copied from Europe’s standards with a few modifications of the European rules.
America in the Mid-19th Century was divided. Not just North versus South but also within every state. The populations struggled with what to do with slavery and if Washington should dictate answers or the states themselves. The Presidential campaigns of 1860 and 1864 reflect these divisions as both political parties would split over issues during these elections.
Civil War does come to America and brings struggle, death and destruction. America would never be the same as changes are brought during the war like: banking would change as more national regulations come into play; the Post Office would now bring the mail to the homes in the cities; and how the lives of two mill towns would be forever uprooted and changed.
Come to the Civil War Civilian class and learn about these topics. Original artifacts will be shown when possible to reflect the life of these civilians.