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Life in Nineteenth-Century Ohio
Temperance | Parlor Music | Minstrel Songs
Songs sung in mid-nineteenth-century parlors often endorsed agrarian values and promoted emigration to the West. Indeed, before the Civil War, both North and South had been predominantly rural. The West held the imagination of many in America and beyond with its promise of a greener frontier or a beautiful country with abundant resources. For many immigrants, moving west was a way to escape from the hardships of crowded cities.
Increasingly, though, these rural values were threatened by the course of economic development. By 1876, in the midst of an international depression, the world’s largest steam engine was the major attraction at the phenomenally successful Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. This was symbolic of the rapid industrial changes that were occurring in America at this time. Cities became regarded as the hub where important things were happening, and the whistling, jovial farmer boy increasingly would be regarded as lacking in industry and ambition.
Recordings and Sheet Music
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Russell, Henry. Cheer! Boys, cheer! London: J. Macqueen, 1895. ML420.R96 Microfilm MUSIC 785 ML.
Stanley, Sadie, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. New York: Grove, 2001. ML 100 .N48 2001 v. 21.