Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic

Paperback | April 1, 1987

byJeanne Boydston

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Over the course of a two hundred year period, women's domestic labor gradually lost its footing as a recognized aspect of economic life in America. The image of the colonial "goodwife," valued for her contribution to household prosperity, had been replaced by the image of a "dependent" and a"non-producer." This book is a history of housework in the United States prior to the Civil War. More particularly, it is a history of women's unpaid domestic labor in the context of the emergence of an industrialized society in the northern United States. Boydston argues that just as acapitalist economic order had first to teach that wages were the measure of a man's worth, it had at the same time, implicitly or explicitly, to teach that those who did not draw wages were dependent and not essential to the "real economy." Developing a striking account of the gender and laborsystems that characterized industrializing America, Boydston explains how this effected the devaluation of women's unpaid labor.

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Over the course of a two hundred year period, women's domestic labor gradually lost its footing as a recognized aspect of economic life in America. The image of the colonial "goodwife," valued for her contribution to household prosperity, had been replaced by the image of a "dependent" and a"non-producer." This book is a history of h...

Jeanne Boydston is at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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Paperback|Apr 1 1988

$64.27 online$65.00list price
Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 5.51 × 8.19 × 0.75 inPublished:April 1, 1987Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195085612

ISBN - 13:9780195085617

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"This valuable study...provides a useful vehicle for assessing how the field has evolved in the United States since the end of the 1960's."--International Review of Social History