Between the American Revolution and the 1840s, silk cultivation was pursued enthusiastically across the United States. Although scorned at first, silk's republican virtues were rediscovered and rearticulated in the antebellum era by a range of proponents. Owing to an evolving infrastructure that integrated the press, the post, and agricultural societies, the appeal of silk drew in farmers and manufacturers of all classes and across many regions. Their disparate circumstances and motivations made a peculiar interest group, but one that secured considerable political and promotional support. More than just an exercise on paper, American silk was widely produced, thanks especially to the labor of women. Eventually, the far-flung community of sericulturists fell prey to environmental and labor-related limitations. But the speed of their downfall, linked to a speculative bubble in mulberry trees, was also due to the distinctive features of their agricultural reformism and its creative relationship with credibility.

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