Ten hours' labor : religion, reform, and gender in early New England /

Although antebellum popular evangelicalism has been considered a middle-class phenomenon, Teresa Anne Murphy maintains that it was also a vital--and contested--arena of working-class life. Drawing on sources which include labor and temperance journals, marriage records, diaries, and correspondence,...

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Main Author: Murphy, Teresa Anne. (Author)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 1992.
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Main Author:Murphy, Teresa Anne.
Summary:Although antebellum popular evangelicalism has been considered a middle-class phenomenon, Teresa Anne Murphy maintains that it was also a vital--and contested--arena of working-class life. Drawing on sources which include labor and temperance journals, marriage records, diaries, and correspondence, she illuminates the extraordinary role of religion in the labor organization of New England mill towns.
At the same time, she reconstructs the complex evolution in gender relations which enabled women workers to find a voice in the once exclusively male movement for a shorter workday.
Murphy surveys the different patterns of labor organizing across the region, showing how the discourse of moral reform provided skilled and unskilled workers with a common language, as well as compelling arguments with which to confront their employers. She examines how working-class moral reform movements such as the Washingtonians challenged the pretensions of middle-class piety, while labor activists went on to attack the paternalism which had shaped labor relations in New England.
Murphy argues that the language of religion and reform allowed women an entree into the labor movement of the 1840s, though some of these women reshaped the discourse to challenge traditional gender roles as they challenged their employers. Ten Hours' Labor sheds new light on a key chapter in the development of American labor and gender relations and will be essential reading for social and cultural historians as well as historians of religion.

Although antebellum popular evangelicalism has been considered a middle-class phenomenon, Teresa Anne Murphy maintains that it was also a vital--and contested--arena of working-class life. Drawing on sources from labor and temperance journals to marriage records, diaries, and correspondence, she illuminates the extraordinary role of religion in the labor organization of New England mill towns. At the same time, she reconstructs the complex evolution in gender relations which enabled women workers to find a voice in the once exclusively male movement for a shorter workday.

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Physical Description:xii, 231 p. ; 24 cm.
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN:0801426839 (alk. paper)
9780801426834 (alk. paper)