A Carpet Bag is a traveling bag made of carpet, commonly from an oriental rug, ranging in size from a small purse to a large duffel bag.
They were made by saddle makers in many town and cities and were many sizes and shape.
Carpetbags were the first suitcases made in large numbers.
Carpet Bags, sometimes also served as a “railway rug”, a common item in the 19th century for warmth in drafty, unheated rail-cars. The rug could either be opened as a blanket, or latched up on the sides as a traveling bag.
- Ordinary people were traveling in large numbers, and there was an need for cheap luggage ,so thousands of carpetbags were manufactured.
- When you traveled during the Civil War (1861-1865) and though the 1870, you packed your Carpetbag .
- By the 1860’s carpetbags were carried by all most everyone, Men, Women, well to do , middle class and not so well to do.
- This became a way to identify an outsider (traveler). All these outsiders (identified by their Carpetbag) were called Carpetbaggers and still are in many places.
- It became the term to refer to a Yankee who moved to the south and usually meant a “damn Yankee and not to be trusted, a scoundrel”.
- Probably the worst Carpetbaggers were the politicians who used their positions in the corrupt Reconstruction Government to enrich themselves through bribes, graft and other despicable acts at the expense of native Southerners.
- Today the dictionary defines a Carpetbagger as “ an outsider involved in politics”.
Works Cited: http://www.thecarpetbagger.com/history.htm