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On the Make – Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America - NYU Press Scholarship Online
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On the Make: Clerks and the Quest for Capital in Nineteenth-Century America

Brian P. Luskey


In the bustling cities of the mid-nineteenth-century Northeast, young male clerks working in commercial offices and stores were on the make, persistently seeking wealth, respect, and self-gratification. Yet these strivers and “counter jumpers” discovered that claiming the identities of independent men—while making sense of a volatile capitalist economy and fluid urban society—was fraught with uncertainty. This book illuminates at once the power of the ideology of self-making and the important contests over the meanings of respectability, manhood, and citizenship that helped to determine who cl ... More

Keywords: wealth, self-gratification, independent men, self-making, respectability, manhood, citizenship, clerks, clerking, capitalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780814752289
Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016 DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814752289.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Brian P. Luskey, author