ERIC Number: ED168940
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975
Reference Count: 0
The Colonial Worker in Boston, 1775. Regional Report Number 75-2.
Erlanger, Steven J.
This monograph focuses on the working class in Boston during 1775, the period just before the American Revolution. Seven sections describe Boston's geographical and political background; working conditions, employment, and controls; income by industry and occupation; standards of living; social life; mobility and the situation of minorities; and the role of the Boston worker in the Revolution. Boston of 1775 is described as a city of 16,000 with strong political tensions, little money, and many poor. England had retaliated for the Boston Tea Party by closing the Port of Boston and issuing the "Intolerable Acts." The faltering economy, brought about by a trade deficit with England, caused the apprenticeship system to deteriorate. By the eve of the Revolution, the unemployed and propertyless had increased enormously; the richest 25% held 78% of the assessed wealth. In general, laborers were badly paid; artisans and farmers earned somewhat more and became small property owners; professional men and shopkeepers had good incomes and merchants and lawyers were well-to-do. Debt was a recurrent problem and many debtors were sent to jail. The legal system provided a kind of equality for women who were seen as more versatile, active, and successful than their European counterparts. Finally, the Boston workers comprised the "ragtag army" which hounded the British in the early days of undeclared war, and benefited from the change that revolution produced. (Author/KC)
Descriptors: Blacks, Citizen Role, Colonial History (United States), Economic Factors, Employment, Females, Geographic Regions, Income, Labor Conditions, Labor Force, Labor Problems, Laborers, Living Standards, Mobility, Political Influences, Regional Characteristics, Revolutionary War (United States), Secondary Education, Social Action, Social Change, Social Characteristics, Social Life, United States History
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Bureau of Labor Statistics (DOL), Boston, MA. New England Regional Office.
Note: Photographs, footnotes, and bibliography may not reproduce clearly throughout original document