By Todd DePastino
Within the years following the Civil struggle, a veritable military of homeless males swept throughout America's "wageworkers' frontier" and cast a beguiling and bedeviling counterculture referred to as "hobohemia." Celebrating unfettered masculinity and jealously guarding the yankee street because the defend of white manhood, hoboes took command of downtown districts and swaggered onto middle degree of the hot city tradition. much less evidently, probably, additionally they staked their very own claims at the American polity, claims that will in truth remodel the very entitlements of yank citizenship.In this eye-opening paintings of yank background, Todd DePastino tells the epic tale of hobohemia's upward thrust and fall, and crafts a beautiful new interpretation of the "American century" within the approach. Drawing on resources starting from diaries, letters, and police experiences to video clips and memoirs, Citizen Hobo breathes existence into the mostly forgotten international of the line, however it additionally, crucially, exhibits how the hobo military so haunted the yank physique politic that it caused the construction of a completely new social order and political financial system. DePastino exhibits how hoboes—with their acceptance as risks to civilization, sexual savages, idlers—became a cultural and political strength, influencing the production of welfare country measures, the promoting of mass intake, and the suburbanization of the USA. Citizen Hobo's sweeping retelling of yank nationhood in mild of putting up with struggles over "home" does greater than chart the switch from "homelessness" to "houselessness." In its breadth and scope, the booklet deals not anything lower than a vital new context for wondering american citizens' struggles opposed to inequality and alienation.
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Additional info for Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America
While the depression destroyed many capitalists, it also served to concentrate markets, production, and therefore wealth into the hands of fewer corporations. For workers, the depression precipitated a desperate struggle merely to maintain wage employment, a struggle that mocked any dreams of independent ownership. While Americans never agreed on what precisely the term meant, the notion of the “producing classes” lent a coherent sense of partnership to capital and labor. Now that partnership seemed torn.
Middle-class perceptions of crisis in the Gilded Age also mirrored earlier panics over vagrancy. The factors generating concern about the “vagrant mode of life” in the antebellum period also fueled the tramp scare of the s: the struggles between the propertied and unpropertied over the uses of public space, fears about the growth of a propertyless proletariat, and anxieties about the loss of traditional social controls in American cities. ” But, to borrow again from Scripture, American homelessness was a house of many mansions, and the great army of tramps possessed numerous features distinguishing it from previous groups of the migrant poor.
Where and how did they travel? Why did some poor Americans hit the road while others stayed put? 8 As for the larger culture, what was its response to this new tramp army? How did middle-class observers explain its rather sudden appearance? What logic, conscious or not, governed middle-class nightmares about “savage” tramps? And why did the tramp crisis become such a flashpoint in the larger struggle over the destiny and meaning of the new industrial America? ”10 Stressing mobility, the new usage also signified a sense of novelty, as if older terms such as “vagrant” or “vagabond” were somehow inappropriate to the moment.