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Chicago in the Age of CapitalClass, Politics, and Democracy during the Civil War and Reconstruction$
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John B. Jentz and Richard Schneirov

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036835

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036835.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 30 May 2020

The City

The City

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 The City
Source:
Chicago in the Age of Capital
Author(s):

John B. Jentz

Richard Schneirov

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252036835.003.0001

This chapter explores the dramatic capitalist transition in Chicago in the three decades from the 1850s through the 1870s. A capitalist economy based in wage labor became predominant in Chicago during and after the Civil War, and a new bourgeoisie organized it to produce capital accumulation, reinvesting profits in transforming the production process as well as the nature of work. This system required a permanent wage-earning working class, and the mere existence of this class posed a challenge for men of Abraham Lincoln's social vision. The working class was also a social issue for those who found permanent wage earning to be legitimate, for their justification of it presupposed a standard of living that could support a dignified family life and considerable choice in purchasing products in the market.

Keywords:   Chicago, capitalist economy, wage labor, bourgeoisie, capital accumulation, permanent wage earning, working class

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