Marketplace of Revolution How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence

ISBN-10: 019518131X
ISBN-13: 9780195181319
Edition: 2005
Authors: T. H. Breen
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Description: The Marketplace of Revolution offers a boldly innovative interpretation of the mobilization of ordinary Americans on the eve of independence. Breen explores how colonists who came from very different ethnic and religious backgrounds managed to  More...

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Book details

List price: $19.99
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 1/20/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 9.02" wide x 6.10" long x 1.30" tall
Weight: 1.694
Language: English

The Marketplace of Revolution offers a boldly innovative interpretation of the mobilization of ordinary Americans on the eve of independence. Breen explores how colonists who came from very different ethnic and religious backgrounds managed to overcome difference and create a common cause capable of galvanizing resistance. In a richly interdisciplinary narrative that weaves insights into a changing material culture with analysis of popular political protests, Breen shows how virtual strangers managed to communicate a sense of trust that effectively united men and women long before they had established a nation of their own. The Marketplace of Revolution argues that the colonists' shared experience as consumers in a new imperial economy afforded them the cultural resources that they needed to develop a radical strategy of political protest--the consumer boycott. Never before had a mass political movement organized itself around disruption of the marketplace. As Breen demonstrates, often through anecdotes about obscure Americans, communal rituals of shared sacrifice provided an effective means to educate and energize a dispersed populace. The boycott movement--the signature of American resistance--invited colonists traditionally excluded from formal political processes to voice their opinions about liberty and rights within a revolutionary marketplace, an open, raucous public forum that defined itself around subscription lists passed door-to-door, voluntary associations, street protests, destruction of imported British goods, and incendiary newspaper exchanges. Within these exchanges was born a new form of politics in which ordinary man and women--precisely the people most often overlooked in traditional accounts of revolution--experienced an exhilarating surge of empowerment. Breen recreates an "empire of goods" that transformed everyday life during the mid-eighteenth century. Imported manufactured items flooded into the homes of colonists from New Hampshire to Georgia. The Marketplace of Revolution explains how at a moment of political crisis Americans gave political meaning to the pursuit of happiness and learned how to make goods speak to power.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Revolutionary Politics of Consumption
Tale of the Hospitable Consumer: A Revolutionary Argument
An Empire of Goods
Inventories of Desire: The Evidence
Consumers' New World: The Unintended Consequences of Commercial Success
Vade Mecum: The Great Chain of Colonial Acquisition
The Corrosive Logic of Choice: Living with Goods
"A Commercial Plan for Political Salvation"
Strength out of Dependence: Strategies of Consumer Resistance in an Empire of Goods
Making Lists--Taking Names: The Politicization of Everyday Life
Bonfires of Tea: The Final Act
Notes
Index

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