Middle Class Life, 1780-1917

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History 101
4/8/2009
Middle Class Life, 1870-1917
Middle Class Life, 1870-1917
During the late eighteenth century and early twentieth century, The United States became an industrialized and urbanized nation. With the rapid growth of railroads, industries have expanded their businesses throughout the nation. During this time, the urban population increased tremendously, and more than half of the Americans lived in cities. The cost of life in cities was more expensive compared to rural areas. Therefore, families had to bring more income to the house. Most families strove to achieve the standard of middle class, which led many people to embrace an optimistic attitude and to focus on the acquisition of material possessions. The progress of manufacturers made it possible to produce new products that were economically affordable for the middle class. As a result, the middle class had the possibility to furnish their house in the same style as the wealthy. With the advances of the technology more new products were distributed and put within the reach of the poorest Americans. The differences of classes showed in their life style, and were based on what they had and things they were surrounded by such as clothes, automobile, and houses. Most companies used advertisements to increase their sales and make their products accessible to distinct areas throughout the nation. Source 12 from a 1912 advertisement shows different watch chains that classify a typical American man, with an elegant and superior style, compared to a poor hard working man who does not wear this kind of jewelry. This advertisement was more directed to the middle class who wanted to have a different looks from the poor people, and have more similarities to the wealthy people in the ways they look. The ad for the watch chains quotes “These are the watch chains now worn by men who set the styles.” This is a positive ad, because it would make other look at this person more sophisticated and more respectful. During this time the impression of having a gentlemanly appearance by wearing more fancy clothes made people feel more important and gave them the positivism to achieve their goal to become wealthy. The advertisement influenced people’s vision, ideas and dreams. The ad shows pictures of people that were well dressed, giving the impression of being wealthy, and whoever wants to have the style would have been possible by acquiring this watch chain that makes a person unique with a perfect style. Source 13 from 1916 advertisement sells guns and the ad shows pictures of how useful a gun can be for protecting people against thief and for a personal protection. This advertisement is a negative advertisement, because it points out the fear that people can go through if do not acquire a gun for their own protection. As well there is a story that says that a jewelry store was liable to robbery at any time, but the owner always carried two guns: one in the safe box and the other under the counter. He knew that his store could be “picked up” any time and when it happened he used his gun and since then he never was assaulted of robbery. During the early twenty century many little businesses increased. The difficulty of having a good life standard led many people to commit burglary, which caused many robberies to little businesses such as jewelry stores. We can see that the delinquency was mostly in big cities, for consequence the solution to protect personal interests reflects in the acquisition of a gun. Mostly this ad was directed to men, because the men were the householder and the one with the responsibility to protect the family interest, not only in stores, but also in the house against burglar who may intend to enter into the house. Source 20, from a 1907 and 1912 advertisements is about ford automobile (1907) and electric cars for women (1912). The cars were an innovation in this early century. Many people wanted to enjoy the middle class life. Therefore,...
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