A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837
Paul E. Johnson
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A quarter-century after its first publication, A Shopkeeper's Millennium remains a landmark work--brilliant both as a new interpretation of the intimate connections among politics, economy, and religion during the Second Great Awakening, and as a surprising portrait of a rapidly growing frontier city. The religious revival that transformed America in the 1820s, making it the most militantly Protestant nation on earth and spawning reform movements dedicated to temperance and to the abolition of slavery, had an especially powerful effect in Rochester, New York. Paul E. Johnson explores the reasons for the revival's spectacular success there, suggesting important links between its moral accounting and the city's new industrial world. In a new preface, he reassesses his evidence and his conclusions in this major work.
religion.” The result was a book that traced Rochester’s middle-class revivals (and thus the local Whig electorate) to problems of legitimacy and moral order that attended the making of modern work. More broadly, the revival was bound up with the making of a middle-class culture within the transformations of the market revolution. I concluded that Benson’s principal ethnocultural division had its historical roots in the rise of modern social classes. At the time, it was a slick piece of work.
participation in the economy isolate the new rich from their own families and former friends. Abelard Reynolds surrounded himself with one of the most elaborate clans in Rochester. When he held the first Methodist services at his house in 1818, the congregation included his father and sister, who had followed him out of Massachusetts. Before long, his sister-in-law Mary Strong came from Pittsfield and married a son of Matthew Brown, and another of his wife’s sisters married into the mill-owning
certainly worked for Everard Peck. (In 1827 the Peck household included Everard and his wife and children, his brother and business partner Jesse, a day laborer, and four journeyman printers and bookbinders.) Peck took these men into his home knowing that he owed them more than room and board. He assured his father-in-law that We cannot be too frequently or too forcibly reminded of the responsibility under which we are placed, to discharge faithfully the important trust committed to our
results), while holding combined occupation and property holdings constant. This scale recreates actual occupations as closely as can be done with available evidence, and it is adequate to the discovery of mathematical rates of occupational mobility and movement across space which have become the common fare of quantitative studies in social history. But that is not their major purpose. They are meant to form the skeleton of a historical account of relations between economic groups in one rapidly
taxpayers into tenths, and to speak of a man’s wealth only in relation to other men in Rochester. 2 In fact, the number of shops whose owners appear in the first five deciles was much higher than can be demonstrated systematically. Many manufacturing establishments were owned by men listed with white-collar occupations. For examples among carpenters, coopers, and shoemakers, see above, 38-41. 3 This is discussed fully above, 40-41. APPENDIX B 1 A Catalogue of the Members of the Third