Author: Richard Oastler. Oastler was born in 1789[i] to an English family and advocated for the abolishment of slavery and improved labor conditions, especially for children.
Context: His letter “Yorkshire Slavery” was written in 1830 during the time of significantly increased industry (at this point, right in the thick of the Industrial Revolution), and need for more labor in factories and mills.
Language: I would describe the language of the piece as assertive and defiant.… Read the rest here
As an American Studies major, I found Peter Kolchin’s The Origin and Consolidation of Unfree Labor to be absolutely fascinating. Kolchin’s purpose in the introduction we read is to delineate the similarities and differences between the causes and realities of Russian serfdom and American slavery. Kolchin begins by detailing the origins of Russian serfdom. Serfs originally had freedom to move around the country; however, in the sixteenth and seventeenth century this right was restricted and eventually abolished because serf migration caused too much disruption and therefore decreased the amount of agricultural labor being performed.… Read the rest here
“These workers, forced to sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, and all the fluctuations of the market.”
I chose this passage because it relates directly to the readings and class topics that have been discussed over the past week. It expresses very similar ideas to those of Oastler and Heine, and the tones are very similar to Marx’s estranged labor.… Read the rest here