Mechanics’, Operatives’, and Laborers’ Advocate
LCCN: sn92051568, Mechanics’, Operatives’, and Laborers’ Advocate (Norwich, CT), 1836-1837
The Mechanics’, Operatives’, and Laborers’ Advocate, was published weekly in Norwich, Connecticut, by J. Holcomb in 1836 and 1837. It identified its audience as the producing class and held as its maxim: “united we stand, divided we fall.” An advertisement for a meeting of the Mechanics’, Operatives’, and Laborers’ Association of Norwich suggests that the newspaper served as an organ of this worker group. As such, the Advocate stated that it “will be the medium of advertising only as far as the advertisements concern that portion of the community among whom it is expected to circulate.” For example, want ads were carried for persons who can lecture on “subjects concerned with the welfare and happiness of the inmates of Factories.” Also in demand were “Good workmen with steady habits,” including “an honest and steady boy from 14 to 16 years of age as an apprentice to the Book and Job Printing business,” another young apprentice willing “to learn the Tailoring Business,” and “good families” with carding and spinning room skills.”
In its editorials, the Advocate appealed to both young farmers and young mechanics to educate themselves not only in the skills of their trade but in “the knowledge of man and men,” in order to protect themselves from the “wiles and oppressions of others.” The campaign of the National Trades Union for a ten-hour day at all government works, including naval shipyards, was featured prominently in the paper as news and opinion. Extant issues contained a series on the evils of the factory system in Connecticut and New England. The Advocate also freely reprinted commentary on world affairs from other American and British newspapers with which it sympathized.