The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 282
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
migrants apparently left Texas than of those who owned no real prop-
erty in 1850 (78 percent).
The most dramatic differences in rates of transiency occurred among
the various occupational groups. Proportionately far more manual
workers than non-manual workers were transients. Only two of the forty-
three presumed living out-migrants who were unskilled laborers still re-
sided in Texas in 1860. In other words, 95 percent of this group were
transients."3 Of the skilled workers 81 percent were also transients.
While 78 percent of the clerical class of out-migrants left Texas, fewer
petty proprietors (60 percent) and only four major proprietors migrat-
ed from the state. On the other hand, Go percent of the professional men
and 67 percent both of the farmers and of the men who reported no oc-
cupation were also transients.
The movements of the men who left Houston after the census of 1850
buttress the argument voiced by Stephan Thernstrom that "the people
who were least successful . . . are precisely those who never stayed put
very long in any one place."" Men on the lower rungs of the occupa-
tional ladder, that is, manual workers and clerks, moved out of Texas
far more often than proprietors and professional men. Men who had ac-
quired some property by 1850 were considerably less likely to be tran-
sients in 186o than were men who had not yet achieved this symbol of
success. These unlocated non-persisters were in 1850 predominantly
foreign-born, single, propertyless, and employed in manual work, espe-
cially unskilled work. It seems probable that many of them became, if
they were not already, members of a permanently floating class, perpet-
ually trapped in low-paying, unskilled jobs, and incapable of gaining a
foothold in any community.
It seems evident that those who had already achieved substantial suc-
cess, or who had a reasonable expectation of achieving it, remained in
the city. Others, who were less successful or who were perhaps merely
younger, found niches for themselves in nearby communities where op-
portunities beckoned. The remainder, who were by and large the least
successful, disappeared from Texas and were perhaps perpetually tran-
34See Clyde Griffen's remarks on the "permanent condition" of outward mobility among
the unskilled in his "Workers Divided: The Effect of Craft and Ethnic Differences in
Poughkeepsie, New York, 1850-1860," in Nineteenth-Centu' Cities, ed. Thernstrom and
85Stephan Thernstrom, "Urbanization, Migration, and Social Mobility in Late Nine-
teenth-Century America," in Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in American His-
tory, ed. Barton J. Bernstein (New York, 1968), 168.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/322/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.