By Andrew Holman
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Extra resources for A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns
28 British North Americans and social commentators in the 1840$ and 505 were of two minds in their references to the state of society. On one hand, many of them were eager to champion the new land as a society of equals, unsullied by the oppressive class-system of the Old World. "In England, or France, or any of the states of Europe, if upwards of a million of the working classes had, within a short space of time, and by means hitherto unknown or unthought of, raised themselves to comparative affluence and independence," proclaimed J.
16 Beginning in the 18705, work types became more numerous, clearly distinguishable, specialized, and ordered, a process that owed much to the emergence of new fields of production, the reorganization of work into larger, more segmented units, and the introduction of labour-saving technology into the workplace. In turn, how the world of work was understood and measured by contemporaries also changed. Perhaps the best illustration of this new understanding comes from the portrayal of the universe of work in Ontario in Canadian censuses.
13 In Hamilton, Ontario, Bryan Palmer wrote in 1979, "the post-i853 years saw the relentless erosion of merchant capital ... 14 Furthermore, the seeming incohesiveness of the Victorian Canadian middle class has dissuaded serious examination. Scholars have not focused on the middle class as an historical unit in the Victorian era because they have, until recently, been unable to unearth much evidence of middle-class "consciousness" in verbal form. Historians of the working-class, in particular, have stressed the need for notional evidence to support observations of social structural cleavages based on occupation and wealth.
A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns by Andrew Holman