Expansion of Everyday Life, 1860–1876
During this period, five states joined the Union―Kansas, West Virginia, Nevada, Nebraska and Colorado―and the population reached nearly forty million. The westward movement was given a boost by the cornpletion of the first intercontinental railroad, and migration from farms and villages to towns and cities increased, accompanied by a shift from rural occupations and crafts to industrial tasks and trades. Overall, the pursuit of middle-class status became a driving force. As this book illustrates, however, most people, though affected by the major upheavals of history, simply pursued their personal lives. Sutherland chronicles dating and marriage customs, the dangers and discomforts of mining, and life in the gambling dens, saloons, dance halls, and "cathouses" of the period. Through extensive quotations from diaries, letters, and the popular press, the reader glimpses an American middle class just beginning to grope its way toward the modern world.
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