Catalogue


Town born : the political economy of New England from its founding to the Revolution /
Barry Levy.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2009.
description
vi, 354 p.
ISBN
0812241770 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780812241778 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
series title
series title
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2009.
isbn
0812241770 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780812241778 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
pt. 1. Foundations -- Political economy -- Stripes -- Settlement -- pt. 2. Development -- Political fabric -- Of wharves and men -- Rural shipbuilding -- Crews -- pt. 3. Town people -- Orphans -- Prodigals or milquetoasts? -- Epilogue.
catalogue key
6962529
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [339]-344) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-03-01:
Levy (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) offers a very interesting reexamination of the origins of the uniqueness of New England, particularly Massachusetts. What was it that separated it from the other Colonies? He is not the first to look at this region's distinct differences from the rest of Colonial America. Many studies have tried to explore what was unique. However, Levy offers an extraordinary approach to this question. He posits an innovative governmental structure that was based on local/central cooperation and whose aim was to control the conditions of life in the new settlements. The basis of the structure was innovations in town governance in New England during the last decades of the 1600s. In the best traditions of social science history, Levy then proceeds to look at the various aspects of social control that defined the Bay Colony and its environs. This rigid structure allowed New Englanders to face the outside world with a nearly uniform outlook. The work that went into this book is astonishing. There is virtually no aspect of life left unexamined. Agree or disagree, there is no question that this book's conclusions cannot be ignored. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students; faculty and researchers; professionals. I. Cohen emeritus, Illinois State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Deeply learned, vigorously argued, and politically engaged, Levy's robust reinterpretation of colonial New England's town-centered 'democracy' challenges reigning views of family, community, economy, and politics. The highly disciplined family labor of this region--in which children's work was vital--elevated the status and power of resident working people because, Levy argues, Puritan reformers refused to allow an indentured or enslaved labor force of 'outsiders' to shape their society. Uniquely insular, and committed to justice as well as harsh punishment, New Englanders created a remarkably distinct and influential Americana culture."--Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut
"Deeply learned, vigorously argued, and politically engaged, Levy's robust reinterpretation of colonial New England's town-centered 'democracy' challenges reigning views of family, community, economy, and politics. The highly disciplined family labor of this region-in which children's work was vital-elevated the status and power of resident working people because, Levy argues, Puritan reformers refused to allow an indentured or enslaved labor force of 'outsiders' to shape their society. Uniquely insular, and committed to justice as well as harsh punishment, New Englanders created a remarkably distinct and influential Americana culture."-Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut
"Levy is a master of the quotidian. In many ways and with many details, he explains how things worked on the ground, and this is a gift for which we all should be thankful."- American Historical Review
"Levy is a master of the quotidian. In many ways and with many details, he explains how things worked on the ground, and this is a gift for which we all should be thankful."-- American Historical Review
"This is New England town history with a twist. No future study of early New England economics, politics, or society will be able to ignore it."- Reviews in American History
"This is New England town history with a twist. No future study of early New England economics, politics, or society will be able to ignore it."-- Reviews in American History
" Town Born celebrates the democratic, egalitarian, mercantilist politics of township government in colonial New England. . . . It is bold, original, often insightful, and vigorously argued."- New England Quarterly
" Town Born celebrates the democratic, egalitarian, mercantilist politics of township government in colonial New England. . . . It is bold, original, often insightful, and vigorously argued."-- New England Quarterly
"Town Born is an important book that all early American historians need to read soon."- Social History
"Town Born is an important book that all early American historians need to read soon."-- Social History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, British colonists found the New World full of resources. With land readily available but workers in short supply, settlers developed coercive forms of labor--indentured servitude and chattel slavery--in order to produce staple export crops like rice, wheat, and tobacco. This brutal labor regime became common throughout most of the colonies. An important exception was New England, where settlers and their descendants did most work themselves. InTown Born, Barry Levy shows that New England's distinctive and far more egalitarian order was due neither to the colonists' peasant traditionalism nor to the region's inhospitable environment. Instead, New England's labor system and relative equality was every bit a consequence of its innovative system of governance, which placed nearly all land under the control of several hundred self-governing town meetings. As Levy shows, these town meetings were not simply sites of empty democratic rituals but were used to organize, force, and reconcile laborers, families, and entrepreneurs into profitable export economies. The town meetings protected the value of local labor by persistently excluding outsiders and privileging the town born. The town-centered political economy of New England created a large region in which labor earned respect, relative equity ruled, workers exercised political power despite doing the most arduous tasks, and the burdens of work were absorbed by citizens themselves. In a closely observed and well-researched narrative,Town Bornreveals how this social order helped create the foundation for American society.
Main Description
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, British colonists found the New World full of resources. With land readily available but workers in short supply, settlers developed coercive forms of labor--indentured servitude and chattel slavery--in order to produce staple export crops like rice, wheat, and tobacco. This brutal labor regime became common throughout most of the colonies. An important exception was New England, where settlers and their descendants did most work themselves. In Town Born , Barry Levy shows that New England's distinctive and far more egalitarian order was due neither to the colonists' peasant traditionalism nor to the region's inhospitable environment. Instead, New England's labor system and relative equality were every bit a consequence of its innovative system of governance, which placed nearly all land under the control of several hundred self-governing town meetings. As Levy shows, these town meetings were not simply sites of empty democratic rituals but were used to organize, force, and reconcile laborers, families, and entrepreneurs into profitable export economies. The town meetings protected the value of local labor by persistently excluding outsiders and privileging the town born. The town-centered political economy of New England created a large region in which labor earned respect, relative equity ruled, workers exercised political power despite doing the most arduous tasks, and the burdens of work were absorbed by citizens themselves. In a closely observed and well-researched narrative, Town Born reveals how this social order helped create the foundation for American society.
Main Description
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, British colonists found the New World full of resources. With land readily available but workers in short supply, settlers developed coercive forms of labor-indentured servitude and chattel slavery-in order to produce staple export crops like rice, wheat, and tobacco. This brutal labor regime became common throughout most of the colonies. An important exception was New England, where settlers and their descendants did most work themselves. In Town Born , Barry Levy shows that New England's distinctive and far more egalitarian order was due neither to the colonists' peasant traditionalism nor to the region's inhospitable environment. Instead, New England's labor system and relative equality were every bit a consequence of its innovative system of governance, which placed nearly all land under the control of several hundred self-governing town meetings. As Levy shows, these town meetings were not simply sites of empty democratic rituals but were used to organize, force, and reconcile laborers, families, and entrepreneurs into profitable export economies. The town meetings protected the value of local labor by persistently excluding outsiders and privileging the town born. The town-centered political economy of New England created a large region in which labor earned respect, relative equity ruled, workers exercised political power despite doing the most arduous tasks, and the burdens of work were absorbed by citizens themselves. In a closely observed and well-researched narrative, Town Born reveals how this social order helped create the foundation for American society.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Foundations
Political Economyp. 17
Stripesp. 51
Settlementp. 84
Development
Political Fabricp. 125
Of Wharves and Menp. 153
Rural Shipbuildingp. 183
Crewsp. 207
Town People
Orphansp. 237
Prodigals or Milquetoasts?p. 263
Epiloguep. 289
Notesp. 297
Selected Primary Sourcesp. 339
Indexp. 345
Acknowledgmentsp. 353
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem