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This study demonstrates that the mediation of the word manufacturer by Americans at the turn of the nineteenth century produced at least two semantic representations of manufacturers. One representation was aspirational, and was based on what manufacturing boosters and supporters of large-scale manufacturing enterprises hoped that manufacturers would one day become. The other mediation of the word defined it through negation, or by what manufacturers lacked, were perceived to lack, or were in the act of losing when contrasted to other handicraft producers. Understanding these representations of a manufacturer at the turn of the nineteenth century, using Baltimore as the case study, is a vital step in understanding the cultural economy of the early republic and why there was so much agitation over the new nation's economic transformation, often referred to as the "market revolution." It also provides a promising way to sift through the various layers of interpretation on the early republic's economy and create a better sense of the relative influence manufacturers had on finance, commerce, technology, and labor relations at the turn of the nineteenth century.