Chants Democratic, by Sean Wilentz examined the emergence of New York’s labor class during the Jacksonian era and in essence revealed Artisan Republicanism. Wilentz offered a unique perspective in his historical analysis of the social and political labor histories during 1788 through 1850. Wilentz stressed the importance of the republicanism ideology in the creation of a working class that was instrumental in a pre-industrial New York. The author stressed the significance in both the political histories and social histories of the early nineteenth century by incorporating political ideologies and labor union descriptions. He further integrated these insights by means of articulating the social working conditions and lives of small masters, journeymen, and artisans to show their respective importance to the creation of the working class scruples. Chants Democratic iterated not only on the formation of the labor class in America, but also illuminated the changes within this new social class by exploring how antebellum New York’s population began to live and think.
Wilentz maintained that the completion of the Erie Canal and the market revolutions of the nineteenth century, together, with a strong republican ideology altered the class
consciousness of artisans in New York City during the Jacksonian period. (pp. 14 & 25) The pre-industrial revolutions of the 1800s provided many avenues of employment for masters, journeymen, and laborers; however, the transformation of a merchant capitalist economy provided for many masters to subdivide labor. (pp. 113) Contracted work caused a rift in the structure of the old artisanal class. Masters no longer needed to employ apprentices since they hired out separate tradesmen for the completion of their craft. (pp. 31 & 57) The social change of employment within the American artisan guild rendered lower wages in the dawn of the economic changes seen during the nineteenth century. (pp. 5) The many small arguments in Chants Democratic acknowledged that along with the changing economy, the fall of Stollenwerck’s theory of craft structure, and each vocations’ interests gave rise to the first unionism of trades in 1794. The foregoing events severed most significant ties between masters and journeymen. (pp. 4 & 56) Wilentz identified that the only connection left between the two artisanal occupations laid in their ideological aspects of republicanism. In spite of this bond, the explanation of what it meant to be a republican developed with the discrepancy of the social and political views the Jacksonian populace held. (pp. 61) Wilentz contended in his dissertation that the working people of New York City were passionately devoted to artisan republicanism, although, subsequent hierarchal structural dissemination occurred after 1825. The division of the pre-revolution notion and the surfacing class awareness in America’s labor population fabricated many opposing versions of the artisan republican legacy and...