Home Sweet Home: Around the House in the 1800s (Daily Life in America in the 1800s)

Home Sweet Home: Around the House in the 1800s (Daily Life in America in the 1800s)

Zachary Chastain

Language: English

Pages: 30

ISBN: 1422218546

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In rough frontier cabins, tidy farmhouses, and elegant townhouses, Americans in the 1800s were dedicated to living as well and as comfortably as their circumstances allowed. The American home was a sacred institution, the seat of family life where the patriarch ruled with Mother at his side as guardian of the home, and the children were raised with strict discipline and strong values.

Changes in taste and fashion, improvements in technology (indoor plumbing and a host of new labor-saving devices), and social change transformed home and family life in the 1800s, as opportunities for leisure activities and commercially produced consumer goods came within reach of the average American.

But the strong American tradition of the sanctity of the home, consumerism, and the importance of a happy family life has its roots in the homes of nineteenth-century Americans.














of change over time. Find Out More In Books Heidler, David S., Jeanne T. Daily Life in the Early American Republic, 1790-1820: Creating a New Nation. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2004. Moss, Randy. Life in the Past: Victorian Homes. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann Library, 2004. Muthesius, Stefan. The Poetic Home: Designing the Nineteenth-Century Domestic Interior. London, U.K.: Thames & Hudson, 2007. Volo, James M., and Dorothy D. Family Life in 19th-Century America. Westport, Conn.:

Americans were in transition in the 1800s. They were moving from one way of life to another, and as they changed, so did their houses and their ideas of home. For one thing, the purpose of a house changed a lot between the years 1800 and 1900. In 1800, most houses were the center of production as well as family life. The purpose of a farmhouse or even a townhouse was to produce goods that sustained life. Farmhouses produced crops and other food products such as cheese and bread. In townhouses,

partners in production. Although this partnership was by no means perfect or without flaws, it was generally accepted that a family needed both a man and a woman to provide for all the needs of the household. The “Little House” books, written by Mary Ingalls Wilder in the 1900s, were based on her real-life experiences with her family on the American frontier in the 1800s. They show us how important both “Ma” and “Pa” are to the household. Both are constantly at work—Pa doing his chores, Ma

1864. By the time of the Civil War, it was common for multiple rooms in a middle or upper class American home to have a stove. Northerners especially valued them. Frontier families and Native Americans often cooked over an outdoor open fire. The kitchen stove was the heart of a house—but keeping a stove burning was hard work. It had to be tended all day to keep the coals burning, which took up a lot of a person’s time. Huge amounts of coal or wood were burned every day cooking meals and keeping

marriage, and family then than they are now. We are still working through the problems of modernity, such as environmental degradation, that people in the nineteenth century experienced for the first time. Because they met the challenges with admirable ingenuity, we can learn much from them. They left behind a treasure trove of alternative living arrangements, cultures, entertainments, technologies, even diets that are even more relevant today. Students cannot help but be intrigued, not just by

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