By Michael J. Cassity
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Additional resources for Defending a way of life: an American community in the nineteenth century
Few, after all, bothered to make the trip to the markets. Most produced what they needed for their own consumption. "6 Ten years earlier, in 1837, when McVey first visited the area, he noticed the same phenomenon, though on a more primitive level: "The present settlers appear too lazy for work, Page 12 so they have and can get as much bacon and cornbread as they can eat, and appear satisfied. " 7 A fine living indeed. Ten years later it was more sumptuousbut still a living dependent only upon nature and free of the constraints of the market.
Even so, I also recognize that my effort to reconstruct that whole life is not complete and that there are Page xiii substantial omissions. In particular, I would observe the neglect in these pages of groups defined by gender and race. While not addressing those cultures with the sustained attention given to others, I hope to suggest a pattern in which their institutions, values, priorities, and collective behavior might hold a different meaning from that traditionally understood. It was with a sense of fascination and caution that I originally approached this study.
So too were challenges mounted to traditions, customs, community obligations, and even morality weighty elements in this transformation of life. The total effect is not something that can be added up in the calculable terms of wages and hours, but in the loss of a way of life Page xii that defies precise measure. Logic dictates then that the response to this transformation would not be restricted to the arena of economics but would traverse the entire spectrum of political, economic, religious, literary, fraternal, and personal experiences.