People then were impartial to slavery, “nativism and religious beliefs. “(Baltimore” n.d.)
The birth of Benjamin came at a time when people have no knowledge of medical research and science, and the phenomenon that happened in the story was not understood. Even medical science books did not provide information about the advanced stage of mind and body of Benjamin when he was born. Since people are bound by religious beliefs, a baby born out of the ordinary situation is a clear sensation in such a small community of Antebellum, Baltimore. Population of Baltimore in 1860 was only 212,000 but the city was bustling in economy because of trade brought about by the railways and steamships, and the first translantic cable system. (“Baltimore”) The family of Benjamin was one of the elites in the society and they had anticipated the birth of their son with much enthusiasm.
This is the time too that discrimination is rife because of the existence of the black slavery. Discrimination is shown in the story not by the color of Benjamin’s skin but by his physical appearance that led to his non-acceptance to Yale. Yale and Harvard are the two most prominent schools most wealthy families send their children for schooling, but it could be seen that there are also student discriminations on these two colleges.
The period of 1869 to 1896 was the construction boom in Baltimore. Construction of housing became the major factor in Baltimore’s economy. (“Baltimore”) It is assumed that this is the time where Benjamin took control of the hardware business of the family that gave them immense wealth. By that, it is calculated he is 20 years old with looks of a 50 year old man when he began to help his father in their business.
Baltimore, during the time of the story, was torn by a civil war.