Accident Insurance

Accident Insurance: Your thesis statement should appear somewhere in your introduction. This paper assignment will give you the opportunity to compare and contrast two short primary sources and to analyze what they show about changes in the cultural significance of accident insurance in the late 19thcentury.  Source #1 is an 1866 advertisement for the Travelers’ Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut.  Source #2 is an 1895 newspaper article entitled “Worked Them Well.”

The purpose of this assignment is to use these primary sources as a window into this industrial-accident crisis, paying particular attention to what changed from the 1860s to the 1890s. Even though you are only reading two sources about accident insurance out of the thousands that were published in the late 19thcentury, you can still address the following question:

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How did the cultural significance of accident insurance change from the 1860s to the 1890s in the United States? To answer this big question, consider the following smaller questions first: How do these sources describe accident insurance differently?  What do the sources suggest about how (and how well) ordinary people understood accident insurance? Do you see any evidence of what Arwen Mohun describes as a “vernacular risk culture” and/or modern risk management?  What is the role of calculation in these two accounts of risk?  Do all social groups bear the same risk of experiencing an industrial accident?  If not, how is the risk pool differentiated accordingly?  What kind of language, rhetoric, details, and statistics are marshaled in each source?  What is the purpose of each source?

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