Sam Patch Essay

Words: 1433
Pages: 6

Jonathan Kroger

History 2111

April 22, 2010

“Sam Patch’s Leap into the Great Divide”

“Some things can be done as well as others”, the famous line of Sam Patch became a well-known saying amongst U.S. citizens especially Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democrats (Johnson, 163). Sam Patch was many things in his lifetime from a famous falls jumper to a destitute mill worker to also the first American-born boss spinner. He however was viewed different amongst social groups in America. The common folk and Jeffersonian democrats viewed Patch as a good man and somewhat of a folk hero, while the middle class and Hamiltonians viewed him as a drunkard and a sign of the decay of society in America. He was a product of the harsh system and
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Thus, Sam Patch amongst most other mill workers lives were filled with melancholy and sorrow, working longs hours with short break in textile mills. While the lives of the wage-earning class such as Sam Patch were filled with long hours of labor, the middle class instead enjoyed more privatized, contemplative hours for leisure pursuits. The different lifestyles between the two classes because of income levels would lead to tensions between such as acts of rowdiness and vandalism towards the social sites of the middle class such as Crane’s Forest Garden in the case of Sam Patch’s life and story (Johnson, 50). The gap was widening drastically such as in the case of Massachusetts whose richest five percent had over half of the wealth of the state, and in Philadelphia the top one percent of the wealthy accumulated more wealth than the rest of the population combined (Foner, 335). Such inequality brought about jealousy and hatred amongst the wage-earning class and Patch, who lived their lives based on clocks and shifts, towards the middle class who spent their days performing leisure activities or simply overseeing the work done by the wage-earning class. The difference in wealth is prevalent for example when Johnson writes “the newspaper reported that the dinner was open to “all who choose,” but the cost was a dollar a plate – a day’s labor for most Patersonians” (Johnson 63) The bolstering and signs of being wealthier showed by the middle class proved to create