- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /
viii

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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were glimpses of dozens of homes, visits to the
New England poets, and interviews with senators
in Washington. Farmers, slave-holders, Abolitionists,
prison officials, and preachers passed in
review; pale brides alternated with chivalrous
men; the funeral cortège of John C. Calhoun
moved gravely along between mourning Southerners,
and in the White House park strode a
general, now president of the United States.

A thrilling, crucial period of America was
mirrored in these letters. It was a period of
post-bellum adjustment, transition, and expansion,
during which American progress and versatility
were definitely established, and yet one whose
boundless possibilities were surcharged with
apprehensions for the future. During the forties
the telegraph had been invented; the reaper had
revolutionized agriculture in the Middle West; the
sewing-machine had lightened the burden of the
housewife. Largely through the pioneer work of
Scandinavian settlers, Wisconsin had been
admitted to the Union the same year that gold was
discovered in California; and manufactures flourished
in the East. Immigrants flocked to both East
and West in such numbers that native Americans
worried about preserving the cherished American
ideals; in 1849 carpenters were paid sixteen dollars
a day on the West coast, and common laborers,

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