New York City Cartmen, 1667-1850

New York City Cartmen, 1667-1850

by Graham Russell Gao Hodges


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The cartmen—unskilled workers who hauled goods on one horsecarts—were perhaps the most important labor group in early American cities. The forerunners of the Teamsters Union, these white-frocked laborers moved almost all of the nation’s possessions, touching the lives of virtually every American. New York City Cartmen, 1667–1850 tells the story of this vital group of laborers. Besides documenting the cartmen’s history, the book also demonstrates the tremendous impact of government intervention into the American economy via the creation of labor laws.

The cartmen possessed a hard-nosed political awareness, and because they transported essential goods, they achieved a status in New York City far above their skills or financial worth. Civic support and discrimination helped the cartmen create a community all their own. The cartmen's culture and their relationship with New York's municipal government are the direct ancestors of the city's fabled taxicab drivers.

But this book is about the city itself. It is a stirring street-level account of the growth of New York, growth made possible by the efforts of the cartmen and other unskilled laborers. Containing 23 black-and-white illustrations, New York City Cartmen is informative reading for social, urban, and labor historians.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814724613
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2012
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Graham Russell Gao Hodges, a former New York City cabdriver, is the George Dorland Langdon, Jr., Professor of History and Africana and Latin American Studies at Colgate University. He is the author of many books, including David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City.

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments to the First Edition xi

Preface to the Revised Edition xiii

Introduction 1

1 The London Cartmen 7

2 Creation of the Bond in New York City, 1667-1700 19

3 Affirmation of the Bond, 1700-1745 33

4 Expansion and Prosperity, 1745-1760 41

5 The Cartmen in the Era of Revolution, 1760-1783 51

6 The Postwar Years, 1783-1788 66

7 The Cartmen Organize, 1789-1795 81

8 Problems with Politics, 1795-1801 93

9 Creating Security within the Municipal Government, 1801-1818 108

10 Political Consolidation and Challenge, 1818-1835 129

11 The World of Isaac Lyon: Continuity and Change, 1835-1845 151

12 Epilogue 170

Appendixes 175

Notes 183

Index 221

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Graham Hodges’ impressive book lifts the cartmen from historical obscurity and analyzes the economic and political ideology of these preindustrial teamsters with admirable acuity.”-Gary B. Nash,Professor of History, UCLA

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