Water Wheels and Steam Engines II
Visions of Change
by Mark Williams
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This site was created by Mark Williams, a history teacher at The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. Some of the materials published here were originally created by Mark Williams as Connecticut Case Studies, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council, and printed by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. John F. Sutherland of Manchester Community College, Ronald P. Dufour of Rhode Island College, Thomas P. Weinland of the University of Connecticut, Tracey Wilson of Conard High School, Robert K. Andrian of The Loomis Chaffee School, and State Historian Christopher Collier served as consultants. The Connecticut Humanities Council is the State Committee of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The viewpoints or recommendations expressed in the materials on this site of are not necessarily those of the Council or the Endowment. Teachers are encouraged to print and make copies of these materials for their students.
Students use primary sources to learn about Samuel Colt, the Cheney brothers and the growth of Connecticut as a manufacturing state in the 19th century. Through a close study of an arms manufacturing company and a silk textile company they ask questions and develop hypotheses about the forces behind large-scale industrialization and its impact on Connecticut society. They also look at the workers themselves, and their experience during the late 19th century.
State Standards AddressedSt.1: see national standards on historical thinking below St.2: Local and state hist./US and World: see national standards for particular eras below St.3: conflict and conflict resolution, technological turning points, impact of trade St.4: initiate questions and hypotheses, analyze options in conflicts and decision making, empathy, active learners at local sites, relate history to current issues
National Standards Addressed (from the National Standards for History: Basic Edition)
Historical thinking: 1. questioning and hypothesizing 2. comprehension, 3. analysis and interpretation, 4. research, 5. decision making
U.S. History: Era 4: St. 2A factory system and market economy, 2B urbanization, 2C immigration; Era 5: St. 1 North and South differences, 2A resources of the North and South; Era 6: St. 1 rise of corporations, heavy industry; St. 2 immigration after 1870; St. 3 rise of labor movement
Note: while this unit does not address in depth every aspect of the U.S. History content standards referred to above, it is designed to stimulate interest and curiosity in all of these topics and thus raise consciousness of their importance as students read more broadly in other sources.
Activity Typesraising questions, hypothesizing primary source analysis (using statistical, architectural and pictorial sources as well as documents) secondary source reading role playing biographical writing synthesis and writing hypotheses/organizing evidence
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During the latter half of the 19th Century Connecticut changed dramatically, from a predominantly agricultural and mercantile society dominated by Protestants of English heritage, to a complex, urban and industrial society in which people of many backgrounds and economic interests competed for prominence and power. People with different economic goals and different ethics from those who had comprised the "established order" during the early years of the republic suddenly appeared as leaders of Connecticut society. People of different religious background and people who spoke different languages suddenly began to outnumber the old "Yankee stock" in the growing cities. People who would challenge the "gentility" and quietude of long-standing community structures and inventors who would seek capital resources and skilled machinists to manufacture their contraptions all appeared on the scene. And, along with all these people, the steam engine - rumbling, humming, and buzzing along, driving belts at 2500 feet per minute -turned shafts which drove machines, spindles, and looms by the hundred, churning out finished products by the thousand in a fraction of the time anyone in 1800 had even imagined.
This unit of Connecticut Case Studies is about this change in Connecticut, not only in its economic and technological dimensions, but also in its social and political as well. With these materials, students will be able to look closely into the mind of an inventor and entrepreneur (Samuel Colt), a modern politician (Thomas Seymour), a man of the "old order" (James Bolter), and workers and their families at both Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and other mills and work places around the state, to consider what "made them all tick," and how their states of mind shaped the new age into which Connecticut and the nation were entering. The materials also raise a good many questions about other patterns and trends in American and state history, such as the nature and impact of immigration in the mid- to late-19th Century, the emergence of nativism in the 1850's, the effect of economic change on women and families, and the relationship between modernization and the reform movements of the late-19th and early-20th Centuries. The package is best used as introductory material for the late nineteenth century, by which students can be motivated to develop questions, define major issues, and propose hypotheses that will be addressed studying more comprehensive material on general American history.
Using Water Wheels and Steam Engines, Part II, teachers will be able to give their students their first glimpse of some of the fundamental aspects of industrialization. First, the materials provide illustration for five important factors in the development of modern urban and industrial America: (1)Human Resources: the emergence of a huge working class composed of both native-born and immigrants, whose rapidly growing numbers (including, increasingly, women and children) in industrial centers insured lower labor costs for capitalists; (2)Capital Resources: the growing availability of credit for inventors and capitalists to start large-scale industrial enterprises; (3)Innovation and Technology: minds to make machines that would increase productivity, decrease reliance on skilled labor, and create better products; (4)Territorial Expansion: a tremendous increase in the land area of the United States that would bring a greater quantity and variety of raw materials to the East and create new markets for all sorts of products in the West; and (5)Entrepreneurship: an aggressive, acquisitive, paternalistic and competitive frame of mind that characterized the new industrialists of the late nineteenth century.
Second, the materials demonstrate the basic concepts normally associated with industrialization in America, such as mass production, dependence on technology and steam power and on continuous improvements in that technology, sophisticated specialization of labor and a growing number of wage laborers, corporate financial structure, concentration of capital resources, increasing emphasis on efficiency, punctuality, and accurate accounting to face tremendous national and international competition, and expansion of markets through transportation improvements and advertising. All of these characteristics of industrialization show up in the enterprises founded by people like Samuel Colt and in the emerging labor movement in Connecticut after 1850.
Finally, the package provides hints of the complex impact of industrialization on Connecticut and the United States, not only economically, but also socially and politically. In 1913 Woodrow Wilson reflected on what had happened to the United States during his lifetime in his inaugural address:There has been something crude, heartless, and unfeeling in our haste to succeed and be great. We said, "Let every man look out for himself, let every generation look out for itself," while we built giant machinery which made it impossible for anyone except those who stood at the controls to have a chance to look out for themselves. We had not forgotten our morals. But we were very heedless and in a hurry to be great.
Here Wilson recognized at once that the society had changed completely and that great things had happened, but not without causing great calamity for great numbers of people and, perhaps, for basic American values and beliefs. With materials in this unit, students could begin to assess how perceptive Wilson was in describing so neatly both the heedlessness and the greatness of modern American vision. They should also begin to see that Americans felt a certain ambivalence toward the new order that was emerging around them, defending and apologizing for the capitalists on the one hand, and, on the other, expressing anxiety over the lack of order, fairness, and morals among the leaders of their society.
There is certainly a relationship between the materials in this package and those of other Connecticut Case Studies packages. Water Wheels and Steam Engines, Part I: Shops along the Brook sets the stage for the great economic and social changes of the late 19th Century. The Woman Question, a study of the suffrage movement in the 1870's, addresses some of the gender issues raised in this unit, and also features an appearance by Horace Bushnell (an opponent of woman suffrage), who shows up in this unit planning a park for a city reeling with change. Newcomers to the Land of Steady Habits, takes a deeper look at the impact of Irish immigration at mid-century, as well as Italian immigration early in the 20th century; and Connecticut Progressives contains material that shows how the middle-class responded to some of the great problems the modern world brought with it. Taken all together, these five units could provide ample data for firsthand investigation into the great economic and technological changes that were occurring in America in the 19th Century, and into their deep human impact.
This particular package could also be used alone in conjunction with text study of the emergence of big business and industry after the Civil War. Although Samuel Colt established his firearms enterprise before the war began (and died in 1862), he was actually somewhat ahead of his time and more representative of the sort of manufacturer that would succeed in the later half of the century. My preference would be to use the materials before the students had done any text reading on the economy of the late 19th Century, and have them develop hypotheses they could confirm reading the text. The other possibility, of course, is to have them read the generalizations first, and then use this material for more in-depth illustration. Whatever the timing or placement, the general impact of this unit should be to humanize all the statistics, trends and generalizations inevitably found in a study of late 19th Century social and economic history.
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The objectives these materials will serve depend upon how the package is integrated into the course and what activities are chosen. A teacher should not think that all of these can be accomplished at once, but should choose those that are appropriate to placement, emphasis, and strategy.
(1) To appreciate the magnitude of, and be able to define, the changes that occurred in Connecticut between 1850 and 1900, and to know that, as an industrial state, Connecticut was the home of some of the most famous and successful industrialists in American history.
(2) To understand the main factors behind the emergence of industrialization, and the defining characteristics of the modern industrial economy.
(3) To hypothesize on some of the effects of rapid industrialization in the late 19th Century, such as increasing productivity, rising GNP, development of new products, a growing gap between rich and poor and greater class identification, dramatic changes in the lives of women and children and patterns in family life, changes in the character and ethnicity of Connecticut's population, conflict between laborers and even the most paternalistic capitalists as the working class standard of living does not keep pace with that of the middle and upper classes, and political conflict over the favors accorded big business and over assessment of the benefits of big business for communities.
(4) To practice reading and interpreting charts and statistics.
(5) To see the human side of economic data and trends through intense study of actual people involved in industrialization, and through some role-playing.
(6) To practice reading and interpreting a variety of primary sources, such as official government papers, newspapers and magazine articles, letters, and even something so ordinary as advertisements.
(7) To begin to see the relationship between industrialization and urbanization, and reform movements of the 19th Century; and, generally, to begin to appreciate the relationship between economic and technological change and politics.
(8) To practice defining issues by asking questions about the implications of information in the sources for immigrants, women, working people, the people on the receiving end of Colt's weapons, and residents of rural areas in Connecticut.
(9) To find more evidence for the ambivalence of 19th Century Americans toward economic growth and change. Through addressing the issue of whether people like Samuel Colt and the Cheney Brothers should be viewed as "robber barons" or "captains of industry," students could begin to understand that Americans of the 19th Century saw them as both and never did resolve the tension.
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The student handouts and rubrics for these assessments are described on the assessment page. You may go directly to this unit's assessment by clicking here.
Since the materials for this unit are so varied and wide ranging, the assessment recommended is a portfolio of writings that demonstrate continuing curiosity and increasing complexity of thinking about industrialization and its impact on Connecticut and American society. The portfolio should include initial questions and hypotheses, notes on primary sources and "interviews" (from the role-playing), an obituary on Samuel Colt, revised hypotheses on the causes, nature and impact of industrial and economic change, and a final list of unanswered questions.
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This unit uses mostly primary source documents, grouped together in the following sequence. You may go to particular documents directly by clicking on their names.
§ Statistics on Connecticut Industry, 1840 to 1900 - a few charts showing how production had changed dramatically in the second half of the 19th Century
§ "A Day at the Armory of 'Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company," from United States Magazine, Vol. IV, No. 3 (March, 1857). This is illustrated with pictures from various sources.
§ A Sampler of Colt Advertising - a collection of ads Colt created as brochures and to run in magazines and newspapers
§ Colt and Congress - a collection of some key patents Colt received, along with an 1848 petition for a government contract
§ Petition of Samuel Colt for a government contract, December 12, 1848
§ Newspapers - page 2 of the Hartford Daily Courant, October 11, 1853, and page 2 of the Hartford Daily Times, October 6 and October 7, 1853.
§ Portions of the Manuscript U.S. Census Returns for Hartford, 1860, showing Colt's workers and families.
§ Portion of a payroll for Colt's cartridge works
§ "Special Order No. 94" - a report by army officers on the quality of Colt's weapons, 1860.
§ On the Eve of the Civil War - a collection of documents illustrating Colt's business ethics and relationship between business and politics.
§ Reactions to Samuel Colt - 2 fictional assessments of Samuel Colt by former Governor Thomas Seymour, and former Hartford city Councilman James Bolter, set in 1860.
§ Requiem - two post-mortem views of Samuel Colt, one by Lydia Sigourney, a poetess who lived in Hartford when Colt died, the other by Ellsworth S. Grant, a modern historian (used with permission of the author).
§ The "Laboring Class" - a set of tables from the First Annual Report of the Connecticut Bureau of Labor Statistics (1874) and Alba Edwards, The Labor Legislation of Connecticut, showing cost of living, wages, and hours figures of the late 19th Century.
§ Wages and Profits - excerpts from the Connecticut Bureau of Labor Statistics report for November, 1885, discussing the growing inequality of incomes in urban-industrial Connecticut. A chart also shows that women and children are becoming a significant part of the work force.
§ A Strike at Cheney Brothers - two documents illustrating attitudes about the strike at Cheney Brothers silk mills in 1902, with an introduction containing some background on Cheney Brothers.
§ The Growing Labor Movement (1878-1902) - Excerpts from the Labor Statistics report of 1902, containing a summary of efforts to organize laborers in Connecticut, and a discussion of "Strikes and Lockouts" during 1902.
§ Working Women - a chart showing the number of women in the work force in Connecticut, some interviews with working women, and women on strike.
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One thing that is important to realize before using these materials is that two principal subjects of study in this unit, Samuel Colt, a firearms manufacturer in Hartford, and the Cheney Brothers, silk manufacturers in Manchester, were somewhat exceptional in their management style. Teachers should explain this to students at some point in the investigation, even though it is, in fact, the exceptional aspects of these industrialists that can teach the most about the nature of industrialization. The fact is, that these men were ahead of their times in both the manufacturing processes and the business practices they adopted. They both devised revolutionary techniques in their fields in the kinds of products they invented (a weapon with a revolving, breech-loaded chamber, and an efficient process of using both raw silk and the original cocoon of the silkworm to create silk thread); they both discovered technology to build integrated manufacturing operations that turned out products that were considered among the best in the world; they both paid their workers top dollar and provided what workers in other factories in the Northeast would consider luxurious living accommodations; and, as a result, they both enjoyed excellent relations with their workers (until the 20th Century, that is), even to the point of the loyalty of the workers to the politics of the boss (Colt was a Democrat, the Cheneys were Republican). Thus, in neither case do we really have a stereotypical American mill owner whose workers were hopelessly oppressed, or who even exploited his own machinists. With that in mind, there is still a great deal that can be learned from these entrepreneurs about industrialization and its impact in Connecticut and in the nation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these materials are best used as an introductory and motivating unit. Because of the familiar names in the material and the eccentric style of Samuel Colt, students will probably become more curious about the economic changes of the late nineteenth century than they would be reading a general chapter in a textbook. Thus, they would approach such a chapter later, already having developed hypotheses and questions that would make their general reading and study more meaningful.
A good place to start is with the Statistics on Connecticut Industry. These show some phenomenal changes in production in forty years, and students ought to be able to summarize those changes without too much difficulty. Some of the more insightful students might do some division and discover that productivity was also improving dramatically - it took proportionately fewer workers to produce more goods (assuming, of course that prices were constant - they weren't, but net inflation for the late 19th Century was not significant - students should check this out in Historical Statistics of the United States). The chart on "Towns of Different Character" shows that by 1900 Connecticut had been completely transformed from a rural to an urban state, although one of the points of Water Wheels and Steam Engines, Part I was that urban attitudes and values were present in small towns in the early 1800's. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to recognize change from these charts. The second purpose of the charts is to raise questions. Students should ask about what led to these changes, how did both production and productivity rise so dramatically, did the new manufacturers have to face a lot of competition for markets, what were living conditions like for the new city-dwellers, what did the original residents of the growing cities think about changes in their neighborhoods, from where were all the new people coming, how did people's lives change - did children work, did women still stay at home, what power sources did manufacturers use, what were their profits like, and so on.
From here students can launch into investigation into one of Connecticut's most prominent and interesting industrialists, Samuel Colt of Hartford. Probably Colt is a familiar name to students - the .45 caliber "Peacemaker" model (created after Colt's death) was a favorite "friend" of legendary figures of the American West, the oddly-shaped, star-spangled blue dome cannot be missed on I-91 in the south end of Hartford, and the company has recently had a good deal of news coverage because of its lengthy strike and the controversy over assault weapons for public sale. They may not be aware that Samuel Colt was the inventor of the revolver or that his business career was one of the most successful in American history, and so those two facts might be worthwhile announcing at the start, to introduce this figure as someone whose life and work can give us some insight into economic change in the 19th Century.
The article from United States Magazine, and the collection of documents called "Colt and Congress" are a good place to begin learning about the man and his business. Students should be able to get a good feeling for the way the factory was run, the emphasis on efficiency and productivity, and the aggressive tactics Colt employed to secure his patents and expand his business through government contracts. The biographical information and the pictures in the article document Colt's success, as well as give hints about the sort of characteristics necessary to achieve such success. The students could be asked to make a list of the reasons why Colt succeeded, all the while being wary of the point of view of their sources (in fact, it might be good to have students make a list of "counterhypotheses" based on the assumption that the sources are highly biased). They may need to review the Congressional power to grant patents, the necessity to protect the rights of inventors as well as to allow the entry of competitors into an industry, and the Congressional power of appropriations. This is a good place to ask questions about the role of government in the economy, as a follow-up to earlier discussions you may have had about tariffs, taxation, public debt, and banking policies.
Students could look over the collection of advertisements in class, taking note of the ways in which Colt tried to appeal to his customers. Again, after making a list of these appeals, students can raise more questions, this time, perhaps, about the appropriateness of Colt's business itself (he was hardly selling his weapons for hunting). Students should notice that Colt was a pioneer when it came to flashy advertisements, brochures, price-lists, and testimonials. They could contrast this sort of advertising with the more bland and utilitarian ads in the newspapers in the package, and come to the realization that Colt believed that selling a product was as much an art as producing a good one. Later in the century advertising would emerge as a real art form as a result of the work of people like Colt. At this point students could be asked on make a list of what is new about Colt's business and manufacturing practices, thus setting him apart from small-shop manufacturers of waterpower days.
By this time students might become somewhat skeptical, assigning the bulk of the materials to the realm of "hype." Probably they could be encouraged, without any trouble, to ask questions about the impact of Colt on Hartford, the relationship between him and his workers, his ethics as a businessman and citizen (how did he make so much money?), and the actual quality of his product. Students can develop hypotheses for these questions with the newspaper articles on Colt's plans to improve the South Meadows in return for a tax break, the letters indicating Colt's plans to "make hay while the sun shines" (sell weapons to southern states on the eve of the Civil War), the report of army officers on the 1860 improvements in the military revolvers, the payroll from the cartridge works, and the census schedules showing the families and nationalities of the Colt workers in 1860. These documents could be divided among the students, who would then summarize their findings and inferences to the rest of the class. Two fictitious "Reactions to Colt" by real people who were intimately involved with Colt's activities would be good to assign to a couple of dramatically inclined students who could appear in a "talk-show" format to comment on this brash, ambitious, and wildly successful "youngster" and his impact on "the land of steady habits." Perhaps a few workers, including at least one female (either a worker or a wife of a worker) could be selected from the census rolls to proclaim their great affection for and loyalty to "the Colonel," an attitude actually quite accurately described in the United States Magazine article. No doubt these proclamations would further irritate James Bolter, who represents the Congregational (although he was Episcopalian) establishment which Colt's character, ambitions and habits so deeply offended.
It should be noted that the "Reactions to Colt" and the letters on the eve of the Civil War also raise a lot of questions about other issues besides economic change. Students should be encouraged to branch out, in their questioning and hypothesizing, to such issues and the causes of the Civil War (the role that feelings about "the Slave Power" had in the North), the emergence of nativism, the role of the American reform impulse in the development of early manufacturing practices, and the changing place of women in American society.
A good summary activity on "the entrepreneur" would be to announce Colt's sudden death in 1862 and ask the students to compose an obituary for him. They could compare their products with the two offered in the "Requiem" handout, and consider revisions of their own. Given the current labor dispute at Colt's, they may still be skeptical about the sentiment of Colt's workers at the time. This is good skepticism, for it leads into the collection of materials on labor that comprises the remainder of the unit.
The materials on labor are not intensely focused on Colt's enterprise, but rather range across the late 19th century in a somewhat random fashion. Again, the design is to raise questions, to develop hypotheses, and to stimulate the imagination. Conclusive studies of industrialization and the emergence of organized labor require careful scholarship and a lot of data - even studying Connecticut's history alone in these areas would call for more time and material than a survey course can afford.
Begin by looking at the charts on the sheet entitled "The Laboring Class." Students could do some figuring and imagining here, considering what a working family's life was like, how women's lives would change from life on the farm, whether people of different nationality lived differently, and so on. More questions than answers should come of this, as it did for the state's young Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1874 when the figures were put together. As the Bureau became more sophisticated its reports contained more information and more discussion of the implications of the information - even though they admitted, on occasion, a lack of faith that anyone in the legislature was paying much attention. The "Wages and Profits" reading, though lengthy, is rich with data that can be the subject of both reflection and manipulation, and should inspire further questioning and hypothesizing. This was reported in 1885, and students should note the chart at the very end that shows that women and children were becoming a significant proportion of the work force. The entire reading raises the issue of the impact of fierce competition from both domestic and foreign manufacturers on efforts of Connecticut industrialists to make profits. Human and capital resources, not natural resources, had always been the difficult sides of the triangle for American entrepreneurs, and now that innovation in both corporate organization and technology had helped Americans develop sufficient capital to be a manufacturing power, the only cost left to cut was the cost of labor. Students should begin to ponder the possibility that Samuel Colt was the exception as a business man who could outsell and outproduce (in terms of quality) his competitors. And, as his old patents (which he had maintained with tenacity while alive) ran out after the Civil War, even his successors had to look, as did most manufacturers around the state, for cheaper labor. How would these efforts to cut costs and find cheap labor alter Connecticut industries and Connecticut communities? "A Strike at Cheney Brothers" provides some strong hints.
There were a lot of similarities between Cheney Brothers and Colt's, and, perhaps, after reading the introduction to the documents on the strike (which includes an article as equally flattering as that from United States Magazine), students could take time to note those similarities. The two documents might be used as the basis for a debate, between management and "other established authority" (represented by Rev. Biddle in this case), and the workers. There is not enough data in the materials to provide a lot of evidence for either side to make a strong case, but it is enough to expose the key attitudes of each side, and particularly the suspicions each side had of the motives of the other. Certainly, the sentiments of each side were shaped by expectations developed in a world that was fast disappearing, even at places like Cheney Brothers and Colt's. Both sides want the old days in one way or another, but both realize that new circumstances require new approaches - organized labor on the one hand, cutting labor costs in half on the other. Cheney Brothers faced incredible competition in the textile industry, and, consequently were in favor of a high protective tariff (over 50% at the time). Even with the tariff though, they had to cut costs again and again in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
A good wrap-up question might be "Who really won?" While the union was broken, it would appear that it was only a matter of time before the "heedlessness" of the 19th Century industrialists and their allies would lead to a major crisis - the Great Depression - in a nation in a "hurry to be great." Another way to look at such issues would be to debate whether or not Colt and Cheney Brothers were "robber barons" or "captains of industry." Americans of the late 19th Century could not make up their minds, and have bequeathed us a heritage of ambivalence.
Students might find many answers to questions raised by the previous documents in "The Growing Labor Movement," which is an excerpt from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report of 1902, the year of the Cheney strike. There were quite a few other strikes that year, and students should look at the sorts of issues that were involved, as well as hypothesize on the reasons for changes in the labor movement over time. Finally, there is more material addressing questions on women in "Working Women," another packet that raises more questions than answers.
It is possible to cut the amount of time spent on this material significantly by picking out a small selection of the Colt documentary material to give the entire class to read - enough for background, and assigning three or four students to study the rest closely and play roles of Colt, Seymour, Bolter, and one or two Colt workers, either for a news conference, talk show, or a mock Hartford Town meeting where the rest of the class plays the citizens of Hartford voting on Colt's proposal for tax abatement on his improvements in the South Meadow. Similar role-playing could be done with the labor materials. Students should try to identify the major issues and bring them out in an imaginative way through role-playing of representative figures: a single woman, a married woman, an immigrant laborer, a young worker, a striker, a skilled craftsman, and so on.
Whatever the strategy, a good summary discussion is necessary to derive insights into the factors behind, the nature of and the impact of industrialization in 19th Century America. There are only subtle hints at the impact on ideology here, for the unit focuses more powerfully on economic values and goals. To study the broader cultural ramifications of industrialization, a good place to begin would be the Mattatuck museum in Waterbury, which has an excellent exhibit on industrialization, and can provided teachers with fine materials on the entrepreneurs and workers of that city.
Using the materials of this Connecticut Case Studies unit students can certainly become aware that Connecticut was experiencing great change, that this was the result of new attitudes, habits, business practices, and economic and social arrangements, that industrialization was as much change in culture as it was in manufacturing processes, and that the impact of the rapid changes would touch every one in the society. Students who have worked with Water Wheels and Steam Engines, Part I would do well to speculate on what was happening in rural towns like Granby, Connecticut (declining population, lower prices for agricultural products, failure of manufacturing enterprises that could not compete with those of larger capitalization and power plants more reliable than a brook, and a general yearning for, and recreation of, "the good old days" of pastoral quietude). In fact, it would be interesting to note to the students that the Constitution of 1818, which allowed two votes per town in the General Assembly, was in force until 1965. What would this mean about the relationship between Connecticut's government and its ability to respond to the needs of a changing state in the 20th century? Where did the term "land of steady habits" come from?
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It should be noted that there are excellent collections of material on Colt and his company at the Connecticut Historical Society, and in the Record Group on Colt's at the Connecticut State Library. Staffs at both places would be eager to be of assistance. Additional material on Cheney Brothers may be found in the Labor Archives at the Wilbur Cross Library, University of Connecticut.
Buckley, William E. A New England Pattern: The History of Manchester, Connecticut. Chester, Conn.: The Pequot Press, 1973. Has more information on Cheney Brothers.
Edwards, Alba. The Labor Legislation of Connecticut. New York: Macmillan, 1907. This is a study of state labor laws between 1842 and 1906, which shows surprising strength for organized labor in Connecticut at that time.
Fogel, Robert W, and Stanley L. Engerman,eds. The Reinterpretation of American Economic History. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. This collection of revisionist articles is good basic reading.
Fuller, Grace Pierpont. An Introduction to the History of Connecticut as a Manufacturing State. Smith College Studies in History I (October, 1915)1. This is an in-depth statistical study that fully documents the dramatic changes in Connecticut during the 19th century.
Grant, Ellsworth S. The Colt Legacy: The Story of the Colt Armory in Hartford, 1855-1980. Providence: Mowbray Company, 1982. Very readable study of the company that Colt built, along with some insights into industry in Connecticut in general. Also contains a good section on Cheney Brothers.
Hayter, Earl W. The Troubled Farmer, 1850-1900: Rural Adjustment to Industrialism. De Kalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois Press, 1968. This presents an interesting picture of the impact of industrialization on rural communities, but fails to recognize how involved those rural communities were, themselves, in the process.
Heath, Frederick M. "Labor and the Progressive Movement in Connecticut." Labor History 12(Winter, 1971)1:52-67. Focuses not only on efforts to organize labor in various industries, but also on the role women played in organization efforts.
Kasson, John F. Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America 1776 - 1900. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976. Is technology our servant or master? Kasson discusses how republican ideology shaped and was shaped by industrialization. He sees technology as posing an incredible dilemma for American republicans, but sees them resolving the dilemma in unique ways and adapting their culture accordingly.
Kihn, Phyllis. "Colt in Hartford." Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 24 (July, 1959)3: 74-87. A good article discussing fully Colt's relationship with Hartford as he engaged in his various projects.
LeBlanc, Robert G. Location of Manufacturing in New England in the 19th Century. Hanover, N.H.: Center for the Study of Social Change; Geography Publication No. 7, Dartmouth College, 1969). A good source for discussion of the emergence of steam power.
Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964. Marx investigates different "versions...of American pastoralism" showing that "the yearning for a simpler, more harmonious style of life, an existence 'closer to nature'" remained an important force in modern industrial America. Thus, Marx addresses the basic American ambivalence toward industrialization brought out in this unit.
Nineteenth Century Cities, Stephen Thernstrom and Richard Sennett, eds. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969. A collection of essays by scholars trying to understand the nature of urbanization.
Prude, Jonathan. The Coming of Industrial Order: Town and Factory Life in Rural Massachusetts, 1810 - 1860. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Good background for this unit, this book shows the rough road that cultural transition followed in the early nineteenth century, and helps to explain the ambivalence in attitudes and values in modern America.
Sutherland, John F. "'Cheney Brothers Was the World': Migration and Settlement in Manchester, Connecticut at the Turn of the Century," Proceedings of the New England-St. Lawrence Valley Geographical Society X (1980). A scholarly study of the workers and their workplace, with more background for the strike of 1902.
_____________. "Of Mills and Memories: Labor-Management Interdependence in the Cheney Silk Mills," Oral History Review 11 (1983). Sutherland is an avid oral historian, and this article shows what can be done with living sources.
Wallace, Anthony F. C. Rockdale. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978. Wallace has studied a textile manufacturing region south of Philadelphia before the Civil War. This is a readable, but exhaustive, study, which gets into the moral foundation of modern capitalism as well as the development of technological and capital resources.
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