The Rise Of The Middle Class Essay

The Rise Of The Middle Class Essay

Length: 1259 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The rise of the middle-class at the turn of the 19th century in northern urban America induced a reevaluation of the proper way to rear a child. As children became of little economic value to middle-class families, families began to shelter their children from the world and openly consider them with greater affection (Mintz 76). Childhood became a romanticized, ideally labor free period of life (Mintz 76). Parents were expected to educate their children in the morals and values necessary to succeed in capitalistic economy, as evident by the values portrayed in books such as Rollo Learns to Read (Abbot 5). In stark contrast to middle-class children were the children born into slavery. Most children born into slavery lived brutal, often short lives (Mintz 96). In order to raise dependent, docile, and hard working slaves, slave owners resorted to religious teachings and copious amounts of corporal punishment (Schwartz 109). In the fight for abolition, many authors wrote slave narratives, which aimed to rouse northern middle-class sensibilities and provoke readers into joining the abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass, an avid orator, abolitionist, and former slave, told his story through his book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Douglass 47, Mintz 95). In contrasting Douglass’s narrative to accounts of northern middle-class children, a chasm appears between middle-class values and the institution of slavery. The depth with which Douglass wrote about the psychological and physical abuses of slavery stimulated empathy in his readers, and his experiences growing up in slavery provided a shocking juxtaposition to the ideals of a northern middle-class childhood.
Douglass opens up his narrative demonst...


... middle of paper ...


...esires to nurture and empower children and the depravity and extensive barriers experienced by children born into slavery.
The childhood experienced by those born into slavery provided an antithesis to the conventions of a northern middle-class childhood. Frederick Douglass’s narrative articulated his life experiences as a child in slavery, and the psychological depth he displays by articulating not only what he experienced, but also glimpses into how these experiences shaped and scarred him would have been more than enough to rouse the consciences of many northerners. His descriptions of the expectations placed on him, the severe methods by which he witnessed others be disciplined, and the deliberate severance from his ancestry all serve to expose how incompatible middle-class values and slavery were and attempted to convert more people to cause of abolition.



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Rise of the Middle Class in "The Untouchable" by Thomas L. Friedman Essays

- The Untouchable by Thomas L. Friedman speaks about the world being flat, which is “the stunning rise of middle classes all over the world (pg. 323).” He explains how the American society is becoming global. This globalization that is occurring in today’s society is leading children in America to have a competing mindset against cultures such as the Chinese. We have to begin to think wise and know what route we have to take in life in order to flourish or survive. There will plenty of jobs out there; however, they will only be open to those people with the right knowledge, self motivation, ideas and skill....   [tags: Untouchable, Thomas L. Friedman, middle class, cla]

Better Essays
575 words (1.6 pages)

The Rise And Fall Of Social Class Essay

- The Rise and Fall Some may believe that one’s social class can never change but this is a false perception. One’s place on the social ladder is never set in stone. Those in the lower classes can work hard or get lucky and become rich, upper class, elitists, and those who are elitists can lose all their money and credibility, becoming social pariah. Unfortunately, moving between classes doesn’t happen very often and many people become accepting of the social class they were born into. This is where this false perception of no mobility between classes is born....   [tags: Social class, Middle class, Social classes]

Better Essays
1854 words (5.3 pages)

The Plight Of The Middle Class Essay

- The plight of the middle class has become a controversial issue amongst the media as growing income inequality has risen in the nation’s consciousness (Boushey, 2012). The steady increase in income inequality in the United States is known to be actually shrinking the size of America’s middle class. (Miller, 2014). The famous philosopher, Aristotle, “pointed out that if the working class disappears, then the poor will become the majority. The poor are often less educated than the rich, and usually tend to struggle just to make ends meet....   [tags: Middle class, Working class, Social class]

Better Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

The Rise Of Education And Education Essay

- The Eighteenth Century was considered to be the period of The Enlightenment which supposedly saw the rise of education and equality based on the ideas of those such as Rousseau and Voltaire. As a result of these ideologies, the period also saw changes in the roles of Women within what is known as the private sphere. Despite this, I would argue that it is impossible to generalise about the lives of women in this period as there are many factors which separated them. However, this is a large topic area and so I will be focussing on women and education, work and marriage....   [tags: Middle class, Social class, Marriage]

Better Essays
1562 words (4.5 pages)

The Rise Of Minimum Wage Essay

- The conversation of whether the rise of minimum wage will help or hurt the class gap in the United States has been going on for years. Some say that raising the minimum wage will help the middle class and help the income gap shrink, while others have stated that they believe that raising the minimum wage will do nothing for the income gap. One of the citizens that believe that the problem with the middle class and its decline is a problem from the government is Edward McClelland. McClelland believes, like many other citizens, that raising the minimum wage can help, but it is also the duty of the government to change this economy around....   [tags: Working class, Middle class, Economic inequality]

Better Essays
1440 words (4.1 pages)

Gentrification Of The Middle Class Essay

- What exactly is gentrification. How is that different from diversifying poor neighborhoods and why is it important to know its consequences. Gentrification, according to British sociologist Ruth Glass, when “one by one, working class quarters have been invaded by the middle class… until all or most of the working class occupiers are displaced and the whole social character of the district is changed”. By this definition, gentrification is when a poor area of a city becomes invaded by the middle class, forcing lower income residents to move out....   [tags: Social class, Middle class, Working class]

Better Essays
1009 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on America 's Economy Is Dependent On The Middle Class

- America 's economy is dependent on the middle class. Slowly, the middle class is beginning to decrease. Soon enough there will be only the wealthy and the poor. Economic inequality is the gap between the upper class and the lower class. It is a problem that is growing everyday. Technology, education, race, gender, and globalization are the main causes of economic inequality. Each one of these causes contributes to the vicious cycle of economic inequality. The battle for our country 's financial wellbeing is upon us....   [tags: Working class, Middle class, Economic inequality]

Better Essays
1317 words (3.8 pages)

Essay about The Extinction of the American Middle Class

- ... The high taxation placed on large corporations took away jobs from the American middle class(Kent McDill). Middle class jobs are slowly bleeding out of America. The high taxation, along with strict corporate regulations are taking middle class jobs out of America and forcing corporations to take a different route for employees. Specifically, mechanical workers are taking over the jobs that the middle class traditionally performed(Adam Davidson). The job brake down in America traditionally went upper, middle and lower class jobs....   [tags: poverty, wealth, government]

Better Essays
1355 words (3.9 pages)

Rise and Fall of the Nuclear Family Essay

- The perfect family has always been an American dream. In the 50s many families wanted to have the perfect family. A working father a stay at home mom and two well behaved children. This image was magnified by the media and you may have been considered an outcast if you didn’t act a certain way. “Widely accepted in the popular mind, this comforting and stereotypical picture was challenged by real-life wives, many of whom worked outside the home” (Introduction to the 50s). Many people then started to rebel against this idea of the perfect family....   [tags: Women's Roles, Rise of the Suburb]

Better Essays
1170 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Social Inequality Regarding Class

- "What has happened in America is that achievement is so important that everyone wants everyone else to know what they have done. . . And in case you don't know, they want to tell you with a lethal combination of houses, cars and diamonds. (Fabrikant 2005))" Inequality in the United States is changing, and for the worse. People who are not wealthy are now competing to have the "status" of wealthy, which causes the wealthy to literally get wealthier while the middle class and upper middle class are going increasingly in debt trying to keep up with the wealthy....   [tags: america, class, high class, lower class]

Better Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)