vii It may be a cliché to say that during the 19th century American society was transformed, but of course it was. Consider this—what was the daily life like for a farmer in Pennsylvania in 1800, as compared to a New York City office worker in 1900? What tools were available in 1900 that made life easier? By that year, a middle-class New York City resident had access to central heat, running water, telephone, electric light and electric appli- ances, long-distance trains and short-distance trolleys, safety bicycles, and typewriters. The farmer in Pennsylvania in 1800 still toiled with simple tools like the butter churn, and without the time-saving help of the mechan- ical reaper. The population of the United States in 1800 was 5,308,000 (of which 893,600 were enslaved) according to the U.S. Census. In 1900, it had grown to 76,212,000. In 1800, only sixteen states comprised the United States by 1900, there were forty-five, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and fulfilling the goal of Manifest Destiny. The California Gold Rush in 1848 enticed approximately 300,000 eager prospectors to take the long, treacherous trek across the country to search for gold, setting the stage for California to become the first Pacific state to join the union in 1850. In 1800, slaves were still being imported from Africa through the transatlantic slave trade. And with the invention of the cotton gin in the early 19th century, more slaves were demanded for the harvest of the lucra- tive cotton crops in the Deep South. By 1900, slaves had been officially emancipated for thirty-five years, and Reconstruction had introduced civil rights to African Americans. However, by the turn of the 20th century, the reaction against civil rights had begun and the racist Jim Crow laws were already entrenched. The artifacts in this book illuminate the transformation that took place in the United States during the 19th century by examining objects in a broad swath of classifications. This volume is organized into twelve categories, PREFACE
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