A Shopkeeper’s Millennium
While other historians wish to discuss American History in general, Paul E. Johnsons gives focus on one subject alone which he intelligently conveys the message of interconnecting his subject on the general concept of American History. His magnificent book ‘A Shopkeeper’s Millennium’ is a compilation of a 6-years-in-the-making book that entails research about the early nineteenth century rapid transformation in the United States of America and its significance and impact in the long run.
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As the book claims that Rochester, New York was the first inland boom town in America, it also explains how when and why it calls that way.
Having listed those factual evidences to prove the claim, Paul reveals some important accounts from his comprehensive study and statistical analysis. Generally, factors that made such impact to Rochester and to America as a whole are the combinations of three aspects, which are the economic, social, and the political context. The economic support from Rochester to the larger America is primarily due to the construction, opening and flourishing of the transportation of Erie Canal in 1820’s to 1830’s. This transportation system solely caters the flour business of the east, which helped feeding other states.
Since the opening of the Erie Canal took place, other frontier cities look up Rochester, New York as the role model for every city and likewise emulate the same ideas for their own prosperity. The upheaval between the North and the South of US during that time does neither strengthen not prolong by the usage of this canal. Furthermore, it helps to initially establish as the bridge of the breach that is going on. Another illustration of economic appreciation favoring Rochester is the growing of local grain milling and manufacturing of agricultural products in this town.
Detailed description on how well the farmers and women revolutionize their best potentials from being the second class dollar earners to successful businessmen and businesswomen using only their homes and own backyards as their factories. True that there are enough resources to each and every situation but only few can wisely grab these exposed opportunities and use its maximum potential. These rags to riches story of US also entail stories of unsung heroes of American culture and history. The period of early nineteenth century covers many transitions in US. One of these is its politics.
This is the time where the Whigs formed the new political party and called as The Republican. Paul E. Johnson also tackles this issue and discusses where and why Whigs drew support from churches and Democrats from the working class groups, which urged people decide supporting such political party that has a promise beneficial to them in accordance to their interest. Since industrialization takes place in Rochester, the emerging capitalism is likewise created by the society. The government as a reaction needs to amend laws and provisions according to the existing norm in Rochester and in New York.
The emergence of industrialization in Rochester, New York particularly in the frontier vicinity of Erie Canal causes distinction of societies. Although it is generally viewed as paternalism and the role of women is vaguely illustrated, participation of both groups develops disparity of roles and principles. Moreover, working class’ group which are usually men build up indifferences with the free moral agency set by mothers and women that are belong to the middle and upper class group. Religious aspect is likewise expanded in Rochester. What could be the role of politics, social, and economic factors in the booming town of Rochester then?
How these factors caused changes to Rochester? The only political impact that cause changes to Rochester is that Whigs are supported by the majority of its residents and capitalists, and thus won the elections. The population of Rochester, New York is comprised of mostly working class men that are commonly found drank after working hours, and the morally principled middle and upper class women. Their impact is set as equally important in the booming of this inland town because of their balanced contribution in the society and industry.
Lastly, Paul E. Johnsons provide us the essence of Rochester, New York in the history of America by supplying us the thought that the most influential factor, which gave immense impact to Industrial Revolution as a whole, is the economic factor that is set first in the area of Rochester. This is due to the fact that the economy of Rochester where inland transportation scheme in Erie Canal, commercialization thru agriculture, and career shift to every home is done in Rochester during the period of revival or the so-called Second Great Awakening in US.