A Sense of Their Duty

Middle-Class Formation in Victorian Ontario Towns

Author/Illustrator/Editor: Andrew Holman, Andrew C. Holman

Industrial change, the expansion of government at all levels, and population growth all contributed to profound alterations in Ontario’s social structure between the 1850s and the 1890s. The changing environment created new opportunities, new wealth, and new authority. In urbanizing Ontario, an identifiable and self-identified middle class emerged between the idle rich and the perennial working class. Using the towns of Galt and Goderich as case studies, Andrew Holman shows how middle-class identities were formed at work. He shows how businessmen, professionals, and white-collar workers developed a new sense of authority that extended beyond the workplace. As local electors, members of voluntary associations and reform societies, and breadwinners, middle-class men set standards of proper and expected behavior for themselves and others, standards for respectable behavior that continued to enjoy currency and relevance throughout the twentieth century.

McGill-Queen’s University Press
DateISBNBISAC CodeThemaRights available
02/08/20009780773518995HISTORY / Canada / General