Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Idle ThreatsMen and the Limits of Productivity in Nineteenth Century America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andrew Lyndon Knighton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748909

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748909.001.0001

Show Summary Details

The Line of Productiveness

The Line of Productiveness

Fear at the Frontiers

(p.87) 3 The Line of Productiveness
Idle Threats

Andrew Lyndon Knighton

NYU Press

This chapter explores the threat posed to productivity by the modes of life characteristic of America's geographical and economic frontiers. Citing General William B. Hazen's characterization of the frontier as a “line of productiveness” in his 1875 pamphlet Our Barren Lands, the chapter considers the notion that frontier lands offered safe harbor to unproductivity. It also discusses Washington Irving's views about the relationship between activity and subjectivity at the frontier, the purported idleness of Native Americans on the frontier, the value of the well-kept and presentable home as a visual index of industriousness, and the frontier's reputation for fostering wage labor. Finally, it highlights the ambiguities about unproductivity that were generated at the economic, imaginary, and ideological frontiers of America.

Keywords:   productivity, William B. Hazen, productiveness, frontier lands, unproductivity, Washington Irving, idleness, Native Americans, industriousness, wage labor

NYU Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.