The New Professional

Graduate from college / C.J.H.

The Civil War both created a host of new professions which needed to be filled by increasingly trained and diverse groups16 . This came out of the shift from a denunciation of wage labor to an acceptance of wage labor17 . Before the Civil War employment where one didn’t create or produce something was decried as “wage slavery”18 . The war’s creation of new bureaucratic, clerkship, and managerial positions which paid well and had better working conditions19 . Because there was a dearth of men to fill positions and the war created a large faction of sick and dying, women were able to step into new roles as providers and professional caregivers without much question20 . According to Solomon, “As substitutes for the generation of young men turned soldiers, women gained invaluable experiences furthering their professional goals”21 . Of course this would also lead to greater expectations and yearnings for freedom in education and the labor force. Thus, thousands of men and women left the farm for clean, white collar jobs in the cities22 .



Facts and figures about Michigan; a hand-book of the state, statistical, political, financial, economical, commercial The Evolution of the College Student, The Evolution of the College Student,

Professionalization was the process of creating a set of jobs which now required a learned set of skills acquired through education and training. Professional jobs, or white collar jobs, usually required no physical labor23 . Most white collar workers actually sat at desks in offices all day and wore clean, “white collars” distinguishing their type of work24 . The growing separation between these workers and the day laborers demonstrated the beginning cleavages between the working classes and the middle class25 .


Education hence became increasingly important to providing for this new workforce. The Michigan state statistics to the left state that enrollment in the University of Michigan was 1,377 students and 177 students at the State Agricultural College in 1884 (Michigan State University). Lawyers had previously been trained in the offices like apprentices, but the growing complexity of the field and increasing specialization in particular types of law led to the development of law schools26 . Other growing fields were medicine, pharmacy, engineering, and business27 . In fact, the University of Pennsylvania offered the first B.A. in Business beginning in the 1880s and by 1910, Harvard had introduced the M.B.A.28  The pressure to raise qualifications and quality led to the development of management classes, the massive growth in the American economy, and the streamlining of the government bureaucracy.

Normal schools, schools specializing in the education of teachers, also expanded during this period30 . Before the Civil War there were only 30 normal schools in the U.S.. By 1900 there were 170 normal schools in almost every state31 . In the statistics to the left, the Michigan State Normal School, today Eastern Michigan University, enrolled 627 students in 1885 and was expected to enroll 700 in the next year. Public education grew throughout the antebellum period as it grew to be considered an increasingly important part of development, modernization, democratic citizenship, and preparation for the economy. Following the Civil War public education underwent another great expansion to meet the needs of assimilating the waves of immigrants into American society, educating the citizens who settled the west, and the newly enfranchised citizens in the South. African Americans from the beginning of their enfranchisement considered education a key component to freedom and citizenship32 . In the Reconstruction period, thousands of schools were constructed meaning that new educators would be needed to run them33 . Women had been able to exemplify themselves as teachers during the Antebellum and Civil War eras34 . The growth in educational and professional opportunities demonstrated a boon in their personal and professional freedoms.

Not everyone was excited about the new cohort of educated professionals. The Cartoon on the upper left has a humorous rhyme about a college graduate who leaves school and whose head is “so big” knowledge cannot break through it. Basically, this cartoon satirizes the idea that college graduates think they know everything when they do not. Rather, this cartoonist believes true knowledge is gained out in the “real world”.

FOOTNOTES

16. Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. Yale University Press, 1985. page 45

Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 70

17. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 62

18. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 62

19. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 62 and 70

20. Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. Yale University Press, 1985. page 45

21. Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. Yale University Press, 1985. page 45

22. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 70

23. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 70

24. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 70

25. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 71

26. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 71

27. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 71

28. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 72

29. Labaree, David F. "2013 Dewey Lecture:  College – What is it good for??." Education and Culture 30, no. 1 (2014): page 6

30. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 107

31. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 107

32. Allen, Walter Recharde, and Joseph O. Jewell. 2002. A backward glance forward: Past, present and future perspectives on historically black colleges and universities. The Review of Higher Education 25 (3): page 242

33. Edwards, Rebecca. New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905. Oxford University Press, USA, 2006. page 106

34. Solomon, Barbara Miller. In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. Yale University Press, 1985. page 45