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By Andrew Holman

Industrial swap, the growth of presidency in any respect degrees, and inhabitants development all contributed to profound adjustments in Ontario's social constitution among the 1850s and the Eighteen Nineties. The altering surroundings created new possibilities, new wealth, and new authority. In urbanizing Ontario, an identifiable and self-identified center category emerged among the idle wealthy and the perennial operating classification. utilizing the cities of Galt and Goderich as case stories, Andrew Holman indicates how middle-class identities have been shaped at paintings. He exhibits how businessmen, pros, and white-collar employees built a brand new feel of authority that prolonged past the place of work. As neighborhood electors, individuals of voluntary institutions and reform societies, and breadwinners, middle-class males set criteria of right and anticipated habit for themselves and others, criteria for decent habit that endured to get pleasure from forex and relevance in the course of the 20th century.

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Additional resources for A Sense of Their Duty: Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns

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This work ethic was current in Canada throughout the Victorian era, but its meaning changed subdy in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the 18505 and 6os, all kinds of work were equally laudatory and moral, but by the 18705 that conception had been modified. From then on, many contemporaries held aloft the value of non-manual labour, distinguishing it from manual labour and assigning "brain" workers higher status in the work order. Among workers in the 18505 and 6os, the work ethic emerged in the form of a producer ideology steeped in an inherited ascetic, capitalist ethos: the real authors of progress - economic, cultural, and moral - were those members of society who worked for a living at any kind of honest pursuit.

The working men, whate'er the task, Who carve the stone or bear the hod, They bear upon their honest brows The royal stamp, the seal of God; And worthier are their drops of sweat Than diamonds in a coronet. God bless the noble working men, Who rear the cities of the plain, Who dig the mines, who build the ships, And drive the commerce of the main. God bless them! 11 The producer ideology was replicated in local discourse and deliberation as well. The dozens of new towns that proliferated in Ontario in the second half of the nineteenth century and competed with one another for commerce and industry provided a series of new, local contexts for these ideas.

32 The major structural changes of the 18705 and 8os (economic depression, industrial production, political nationhood, geographic expansion) began to alter the way Canadians perceived their society. As Canada developed its economic and political independence, Canadians and others began to construct the idea of Canadian society as an entity of its own making - independent from the shaping influences of Britain and the United States and possessing the potential to determine its character and direction for itself.

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