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ENTREPRENEUR STORY LINE
Opening   Cohutta Springs   Hopkins and Company Loan   Family Business   Barber Shop

 

Travel sales, marketing, small business, all quintessential American entrepreneurial activities, were the staples of Asaph Perry's business life. Unlike his father and father's father, Asaph's ties to the land were tenuous. He was, instead, a man on the road, traveling the land for the first part of his adult life, before firmly settling in Canton Georgia as a small business owner and barber.

 

Asaph came of age in the "New South" and in many ways represented the primary economic impulse of that era.

 

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Extending the story

 

 

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Learning the story

 

Teaching from the Entrepreneur story line is primarily an exercise in teaching about the maturing of American capitalism. Asaph's story might encourage us to move from the standard story of laissez faire economics, resulting labor abuse, and the reform movement. Instead, students can learn about a small businessman's struggle to carve a place in the expanding economy of the early 20th Century. History Matters at George Mason University has developed a wonderfully broad collection of primary documents about the experiences of ordinary Americans throughout U.S. history. Two of these documents explore issues which Asaph represents, namely the veracity of Horatio Alger's positive vision of America and his famous "rags to riches" stories. Contrasting two resources at History Matters, one from Mark Twain lampooning what he calls the Alger myth and the other an actual selection from an Alger story, should provide a meaningful context for exploring Asaph's story.