As many as 70 percent of Americans consider themselves to be members of the middle class. But if you consider income as a qualifier for membership, only about 50 percent of Americans qualify for membership.
So what does it mean to be middle class and why do so many Americans want to be members of it?
Jennifer Goloboy, an independent scholar based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the author of Charleston and the Emergence of Middle-Class Culture in the Revolutionary Era, helps us explore the origins of the American middle class so we can better understand what it is and why so many Americans want to be a part of it.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Jennifer Goloboy, an independent scholar based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the author of Charleston and the Emergence of Middle-Class Culture in the Revolutionary Era, helps us explore the origins of the American middle class.
During our investigation, Jennie reveals how people in early America defined “middle class”; Details about merchants in early America, the work they performed, and why they were often members of the early American middle class; And, information about who could be members of the early American middle class.
What You’ll Discover
- What it meant to be middle class in early America
- Charleston, South Carolina as a city of merchants
- Henry Laurens
- Merchants in early America and the work they performed
- Merchants and the early American middle class
- How someone became a merchant
- Mobility of merchants
- African Americans and the middle class in early America
- Relationships between merchants and African American women
- Denmark Vesey Rebellion
- Women as merchants in South Carolina
- How Charleston women identified as middle class
- The colonial economy of Charleston
- The economy of Charleston during the American Revolution
- The early republic economy
- The African Slave Trade and South Carolina
- Slavery and its impact on the early American middle class
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jennifer Goloboy
- Jennifer Goloboy on Twitter: @JennieGoloboy
- Charleston and the Emergence of Middle-Class Culture in the Revolutionary Era
- The Papers of Henry Laurens
- Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor,The Ties that Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America
- Boston History Camp, July 7
- Boston Meet Up: July 8, 10am Meet at the corner of Park Street and Tremont Street on Boston Common
- Cleveland Meet Up: Saturday July 21
- Send Liz your questions about early American history for Episode 200
- Omohundro Institute
- Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792
- Join the BFWorld listener community on Facebook
- Episode 012: Dane Morrison, True Yankees: The South Seas & the Discovery of American Identity
- Episode 098: Gautham Rao, Birth of the American Tax Man
- Episode 126: Rebecca Brannon, The Reintegration of American Loyalists
- Episode 133: Patrick Breen, The Nat Turner Revolt
- Episode 159: The Revolutionary Economy
- Episode 161: Smuggling in the American Revolution
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if the American Revolution hadn’t happened? How would the development of the American middle class have been different if the 13 colonies had remained a part of the British Empire?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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