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Author Cohen, Joanna, author
Title Luxurious citizens : the politics of consumption in nineteenth-century America / Joanna Cohen
Imprint Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2017]
book jacket
 Fu Ssu-Nien WTN LANG BK  HC110.C6 C678 2017    AVAILABLE    30530001275460
 Modern History Library  339.47 C678    AVAILABLE    30550100661345
Descript 284 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
text txt rdacontent
unmediated n rdamedia
volume nc rdacarrier
Series America in the nineteenth century
America in the nineteenth century
Note Includes bibliographical references (pages 229-274) and index
Introduction. Imagining the citizen-consumer -- Dilemmas of abundance -- The marketplace of retribution -- The perils of the public auction -- Of tariffs and taste -- "They now advertise liberally" -- Consumers at war -- Epilogue: The citizen-consumer and the state of the nation
After the Revolution, Americans abandoned the political economy of self-denial and sacrifice that had secured their independence. In its place, they created one that empowered the modern citizen-consumer. This profound transformation was the uncoordinated and self-serving work of merchants, manufacturers, advertisers, auctioneers, politicians, and consumers themselves, who collectively created the nation's modern consumer economy: one that encouraged individuals to indulge their desires for the sake of the public good and cast the freedom to consume as a triumph of democracy. In Luxurious Citizens, Joanna Cohen traces the remarkable ways in which Americans tied consumer desire to the national interest between the end of the Revolution and the Civil War. Illuminating the links between political culture, private wants, and imagined economies, Cohen offers a new understanding of the relationship between citizens and the nation-state in nineteenth-century America. By charting the contest over economic rights and obligations in the United States, Luxurious Citizens argues that while many less powerful Americans helped to create the citizen-consumer it was during the Civil War that the Union government made use of this figure, by placing the responsibility for the nation's economic strength and stability on the shoulders of the people. Union victory thus enshrined a new civic duty in American life, one founded on the freedom to buy as you pleased. Reinterpreting the history of the tariff, slavery, and the coming of the Civil War through an examination of everyday acts of consumption and commerce, Cohen reveals the important ways in which nineteenth-century Americans transformed their individual desires for goods into an index of civic worth and fixed unbridled consumption at the heart of modern America's political economy
Subject Consumption (Economics) -- United States -- History -- 19th century
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