By Eric Foner
An abridged model of Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, the definitive examine of the aftermath of the Civil conflict, winner of the Bancroft Prize, Avery O. Craven Prize, Los Angeles Times e-book Award, Francis Parkman Prize, and Lionel Trilling Prize.
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Additional info for A Short History of Reconstruction
After a halt in business owing to the economic collapse in 1837, various small concerns, such as Smith’s Clock Establishment in New York City, picked up the pace of their business in the 1840s. Many of the clocks installed in the 1830s and 1840s had striking mechanisms, so their works monitored the striking of hours on bells and gongs as well as the operation of minute and hour’s hands on what were mostly in those days painted wooden clock faces. A predilection for tower clocks was evident; as American towns and cities gained modest amounts of wealth, they invested in signs of order, prestige, and permanence.
It depended on reliable clocks and ﬁrmly established time standards. Like Father Time with his reaper atop the eight-ton Jewelers Building clock, time has always disciplined humans. Time begins with sunrises, births, ar- 18 | INTRODUCTION rivals; it always ends, in a sunset, a death, a departure. The shape of time varies from culture to culture and age to age, as do the ways of measuring and marking it. “Time discipline” is shorthand for how time—ideas about it, ways of measuring it, instruments for meting it out—controls actions, thoughts, dreams, desires.
Neither church nor state had much of a hand in determining the time; that task was left to amateur scientists, jewelers, and clockmakers. Shortly after the installation of the Pennsylvania State House bells and clock, members of the ﬂedgling American Philosophical Society built an astronomical observatory on the house grounds. Although ships had been traversing the world’s oceans for centuries, it was only in the 1750s that a reliable method of navigation emerged in the shape of a marine chronometer.
A Short History of Reconstruction by Eric Foner