Thursday, September 22, 2011

A major transformation from the mid 1800s into the 1890s not only deals with industrialization and urbanization, but the consumption of goods and material things by the population of all social classes, some more than others. The photo above shows Rollins College's Hamilton Holt at one of his homes during Christmas. This picture reflects the consumptive ethos in the United States because of how grandiose the objects and material things are in his home and how Holt is dressed.

During the 1890s there was a great shift in the amount of people living in cities compared with how many people were living out in the country. The social classes were also developing to the point where they were very far apart and different. There was the working poor who could barely get by and worked factory jobs for a very small amount of money. These were the people who didn't have leisure time and really only had time to work to try and support their families. The family members in most of these families were not very educated and most had to stop schooling so they could go to work and provide for the family. The middle class still worked, but they had a little more room for leisurely activities as well as money to spend. Some middle class families pretended and felt as if they were upper class when really they were just living on credit therefore they looked upper class, but were living in debt. The upper class families lived in the big cities with multiple houses probably in a few towns and cities else where. They had plenty of time to do all sorts of activities like see plays and operas and ride in fancy cars. They had huge houses and while middle class families might have had one or two servants, the upper class could have had 10 or more.

Hamilton Holt is probably of middle to upper class due to the fact that his house is filled with all sorts of material things and looks well kept up. He is dresses fairly nice and because the caption says this is one of his homes, one can infer that he has a few others. He is a graduate of Yale therefore very educated and most educated people became educated because they had money. The objects in his house are more along the decorative side, rather than the necessity side which also leads one to believe he is of an upper class because he can afford to buy and show off these things. These more fancy material things include the fire place, the pictures on the wall in picture frames, the furniture with material coverings not just wood, the small statues which could be made out of marble or other such materials. There are also decorative rugs and a Christmas tree.

This picture is an example of the ethos in the United States because of consumption. The character of the U.S. at this time is growing in a way that all the social classes were diverging father apart, but because of industrialization, methods to produce more products faster lowers the cost of certain things like food and clothing. Also department stores become important parts of business in cities and towns where the people can find all their needs and wants in one place. With the cost of goods lower than before and department stores opening, more people of different social classes are able to shop in the same area, buying almost the same sort of goods. The rich are buying more expensive goods, but the poor are now able to buy a little more than before because the cost is lower. All in all, the shift and transformation of masses of people to cities and industrialization of the cities created more jobs and ways of producing and manufacturing goods faster which lead to prices lowering and the more people consuming such goods. This picture is representative of that because of all the goods in Holt's house and the inferences that can be made about his life and place in society.

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