Sam Patch Essay

1452 Words Apr 12th, 2012 6 Pages
Jonathan Kroger

History 2111

April 22, 2010

“Sam Patch’s Leap into the Great Divide”

“Some things can be done as well as others”, the famous line of Sam Patch became a well-known saying amongst U.S. citizens especially Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democrats (Johnson, 163). Sam Patch was many things in his lifetime from a famous falls jumper to a destitute mill worker to also the first American-born boss spinner. He however was viewed different amongst social groups in America. The common folk and Jeffersonian democrats viewed Patch as a good man and somewhat of a folk hero, while the middle class and Hamiltonians viewed him as a drunkard and a sign of the decay of society in America. He was a product of the harsh system and
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On the other hand; the middle class who was most often associated with Hamiltonian views viewed Sam Patch as a simple drunkard and a symbol of the decay and immoralities of American society. Journalists during his time wrote Sam Patch “like many other great geniuses is a greater friend to the bottle than the bottle is to him” (Johnson, 115). The middle class viewed themselves as “respectables” and the wage-earning class was inferior to them, which is evident in the celebration ceremonies in Paterson on the Fourth of July. Celebrations started off with a parade, banquet, and fireworks where all Patersonians were welcome to participate, but gradually transitioned to a more exclusive celebration of a large group of respectable “Young Men” where toasts weren’t based on patriotism anymore yet based on entrepreneurial progress (Johnson, 65). Sam Patch’s celebrity and life not only showed growing social and political differences, but it showed the increasing gap that was growing between the wage-earning and middle class as a result of the market revolution.
The wage-earning class was the debtors, debtors who owed money and had to work to make a living for creditors, most of whom made up what would be known as the middle class. The tradition of fathers passing their land on down to their sons was slowly dying such as with Mayo Greenleaf Patch and his sons. Mayo Patch’s life was riddled with owing debts to the middle

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