What was life like in Michigan 150 years ago? The Civil War had recently come to an end and the country was stepping into the Gilded Age (a term that was coined by Mark Twain in the 1920s) and primed for the upcoming economic boom.

Related: Michigan's Top 100 Employers: Putting the Mitten State to Work

With the war no longer the driving force of the economy, local communities in Michigan began to look to their surroundings for a source of income. This led to varied means of prosperity, from lumbering, railroad work, farming, and commercial goods.

Choosing Your Career in 1870's Post-Civil War Michigan

In the last half of the 1800s, Michigan was putting together its public school system following the establishment of the Federal Department of Education in 1870. Both men and women pursued degrees following the Civil War.

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During the United States' internal conflict, university enrollment tanked, so they opened their doors to women. When the Civil War ended the doors remained open (as did a new source of revenue for colleges), and a new era of education began in Michigan and around the country.

Though many of the top jobs available 150 years ago in Michigan involved manual labor, the growth of higher learning was watering the seeds of blue-collar careers. So what type of job would you pursue?

Related: The 5 Most, and 5 Least, Profitable College Majors in Michigan

One final reminder before you comb through the top careers in 1870s Michigan: To apply for any job at the time you had to physically show up and talk to someone face-to-face. There was no social media stalking of a future employer. To do your research, you had to put your feet on the ground, leave your home, and look for HELP WANTED signs.

Historic Michigan Careers: Your Job Prospects from 150 Years Ago

Wishing for a 'simpler' time? Wondering what life would be like 150 years ago? Here are the 25 most common jobs you'd have to choose from in 1870's Michigan as put together by Stacker.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Michigan's Top 100 Largest Employers

Michigan has a diverse variety of employment opportunities. From careers in the medical field, communication, insurance, manufacturing, and investments, these are the Top 100 Largest Employers in the State of Michigan, as compiled by Zippia.com

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

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