Alan Trachtenberg. The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age. (American Century Series.) New York: Hill and Wang. Reviewed Work(s): The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age. by Alan Trachtenberg. Review by: Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz. Source: . A classic examination of the roots of corporate culture, newly revised and updated for the twenty first century. Alan Trachtenberg presents a.

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The Incorporation of America: Incorporation is a metaphor resting on reductionist foundations, but it supports well-worked details. My favorite chapters if you want to cherry-pick, and Trachteenberg t Written incoorporationthis book gives an interesting overview of US social and cultural history from the end of the Civil War through the beginning of the 20th century. Professor Emeritus of English and American studies at Yale University, where he taught for thirty-five years.

An interesting study of the factors which contributes to the transformation of the United States during the latter part of the 19th century. However, seen another way, this spread was viewed as progress: Alan Trachtenberg presents a balanced analysis of the expansion of capitalist power in the last third of the nineteenth century and the cultural changes it brought in its wake.

The sweeping changes in technology, society, politics, and business in the latter half of the nineteenth century are fairly obvious to most observers and well-trodden in the historiography. This article is also available for rental through DeepDyve.

The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age by Alan Trachtenberg

Revised and Expanded Bibliographical Essay. In this latest addition to the American Century series, Professor Trachtenberg American Studies and English, Yale attempts a synthesis of current thinking as regards the “”effects of the corporate system on culture, on values and outlooks, on the ‘way of life,'”” from the end of the Civil Incorpration to the early s.

It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Trachtenberg captures the effects of incorporation throughout society. This conflict gave rise to the idea of the collective voice; the corporation spoke as a voice which evaded liability in contrast with the unions, whose culture developed as a conscious alternative to the culture of competitive individualism, of acquisitiveness and segregation.


The book also emphasizes the irony that the products of labor are essentially packaged and sold back to the laborers in an unrecognizable form.

Trachtenberg explores how the industrial revolution and the expansion of the capitalist system influenced culture in the Akerica States. Culture and Society in the Gilded Age By. Jan 19, Jack rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 11, Dan Gorman rated it it was amazing Shelves: Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

In odd pages, one cannot intelligently explicate the historical reality, “”cultural myths,”” and selected interpretations of: Mar 06, DoctorM rated it really liked it Shelves: Others flocked to the Chautauqua movement, which mixed lectures and rustic activities to forge a middlebrow and middle-class identity, linking republicanism and industrial progress. Many of the foundations laid during this era have reached fruition in contemporary American culture and are spreading through globalization.

Overall, Trachtenberg makes the persuasive claim that incorporation dominated the Gilded Age, but the transformation of the economy provoked strong pushback. Myths about the virtue of productivity and progress and metaphorical relations with mechanization obscured the evils of the reality of rapid mechanization and incorporation, including such un-American features as increased social stratification and decreased individual autonomy.

Of particular interest is Trachtenberg’s discussion of the city — especially the advent of the metropolis — as a cultural and transformative object unto itself.


Open Preview See a Problem? Truly fascinating stuff, and a must-read for students specializing in the history of the Gilded Age.

Again, Trachtenberg sees political conflict in this period as a struggle over the soul of the American Self. Lists with This Book. Be the first to discover new talent! Additionally, the previous American society was incredibly diverse, both from North to South but also from Eastern cities to the Western frontier.

Trachtenberg also looks at the ways in which the old, Emersonian sense of American promise was replaced by the fear amongst older elites that “republican virtue” and Protestant ascendancy would be replaced by a “European” world of urban class conflict. Trachtenberg also illustrates how the broader uncertainty and upheaval of social, political, and economic relations manifested itself in popular culture. It is densely analytical but remains an impressively readable narrative through its logical organization and smooth transitions.


In rough sequence, industrialization led to the need for more raw materials, the rise of private corporations with shareholders, the proliferation incoorporation such corporations, the standardization of time, the government’s favorable business connections under successive Republican presidents, incprporation Excellent collection of essays on the Gilded Age and the United States’s transition from a regional to a national, industrialized economy.

The Incorporation of America – Alan Trachtenberg – Google Books

I’m quite sure I could have lived the entire rest of my life and never had any one recommend this book to me in causal or non-casual conversation. Along the way, he tackles not only the history of the corporation itself, but the way business took over the political system and the way corporate america co-opted the artistic elite.

Westward expansion, mechanization, the separation of labor and inforporation and the emergence of three classes – working, middle, and elite; the rise of the metropolis; political change and the emergence of parties of reform and protest; and the literature and the evolution of realism in fiction. Furthermore, he shows how despite its attempts at consolidation, it fostered cultural conflict in various political, economic, and cultural arenas, most fundamentally between labor and capital.

Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. The overall idea of “the incorporation of America” is brilliantly conceived and effectively binds qmerica the book’s broad scope into a digestible argument, but at times the connections between the topic at hand and the word “incorporation” and between the varied uses of the word “incorporation” felt tenuous.

All of this creates a sense of detachment, clearly distinct from former ways of small town life.