History of My Own Times

Cover
Cornell University Press, 1995 - 230 Seiten

Big Bill Otter was one member of the early American working class not preoccupied with republican principles or the heritage of the Revolution. Big Bill Otter--apprentice, journeyman, master plasterer--was a thug.

Otter's autobiography, first published in 1835, provides a rare and fascinating counterpoint to romantic notions of virtuous, respectable craftsmen in the early republic. His Life and Adventures offer an inside account of the brawling racism common in the early nineteenth century and sharply detail the rowdy male subculture of the times.

Born in England and conscripted into the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, Otter jumped ship and came to New York City in 1801. He apprenticed as a plasterer and joined an urban gang; later he was a master plasterer, tavernkeeper, slavecatcher, "Jackson man," bigot, town bully, notorious practical joker, borderline psychopath, mayoral candidate, and all-round "jolly fellow."

History of My Own Times is one of the few first-person accounts of a rural artisan in pre-genteel America. The book depicts the ambiguities of race relations in the early nineteenth century, sheds light on its definition of manhood, and conveys a sense of humor very different from today's. Richard B. Stott's introduction an,d commentary place Otter in the context of his times and explore the significance of his autobiography in understanding the social and cultural history of the early American republic.

 

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Inhalt

Preface
3
England
5
New York
25
Philadelphia
54
Pennsylvania
67
Hanover
89
Cincinnati the Eastern Shore and Baltimore
127
Emmitsburg
161
Postscript
179
William Otter and the Society of Jolly Fellows in the Early Republic
181
Articles of an Agreement between Rev John DuBois William Otter 11 October 1823
224
Index
227
Urheberrecht

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Über den Autor (1995)

William Otter did plastering in New York City, Philadelphia, Hanover, Pennsylvania, and Emmitsburg, Maryland. He died in Baltimore in 1856. Richard B. Stott is Associate Professor of History at George Washington University and the author of Workers in the Metropolis: Class, Ethnicity, and Youth in Antebellum New York City, also from Cornell.

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