A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns
What did it mean to be middle class in late nineteenth-century Ontario? How did the members of the middle class define themselves? Though simple, these questions have escaped the attention of social historians in recent writing about Canada. The Victorian middle class, referred to as the backbone of economic change, the motor of political reform, and the source of one set of moral standards, has eluded systematic study. "A Sense of Their Duty" corrects this and reconstructs the identities that middle-class Victorians made for themselves in an era of economic change. Industrial change, the expansion of government at all levels, and population growth all contributed to profound alterations in Ontario's social structure between the 1850s and the 1890s. The changing environment created new opportunities, new wealth, and new authority. In urbanising Ontario, an identifiable and self-identified middle class emerged between the idle rich and the perennial working class.Using the towns of Galt and Goderich as case studies, Andrew Holman shows how middle-class identities were formed at work. He shows how businessmen, professionals, and white-collar workers developed a new sense of authority that extended beyond the workplace. As local electors, members of voluntary associations and reform societies, and breadwinners, middle-class men set standards of proper and expected behaviour for themselves and others, standards for respectable behaviour that continued to enjoy currency and relevance throughout the twentieth century. Andrew C. Holman teaches in the Department of History and in the Canadian Studies Program at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.
- Dewey Decimal: 971
- Physical Description: 6.1"x9.0"x0.8"; 1.0 lb; 272 pages
- Edition Info: Paperback; 2000-08
- History -- Americas -- Canada -- General
- History -- Americas -- General
- History -- World -- General
- Nonfiction -- Politics -- History & Theory
- Nonfiction -- Social Sciences -- Political Science -- General
- Nonfiction -- Social Sciences -- General
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