Sowing the American Dream: How Consumer Culture Took Root in the Rural Midwest

Sowing the American Dream: How Consumer Culture Took Root in the Rural Midwest

by David Blanke
     
 

ISBN-10: 0821413481

ISBN-13: 9780821413487

Pub. Date: 12/28/2000

Publisher: Ohio University Press

From 1840 to 1900, midwestern Americans experienced firsthand the profound economic, cultural, and structural changes that transformed the nation from a premodern, agrarian state to one that was urban, industrial, and economically interdependent. Midwestern commercial farmers found themselves at the heart of these changes. Their actions and reactions led to the

Overview

From 1840 to 1900, midwestern Americans experienced firsthand the profound economic, cultural, and structural changes that transformed the nation from a premodern, agrarian state to one that was urban, industrial, and economically interdependent. Midwestern commercial farmers found themselves at the heart of these changes. Their actions and reactions led to the formation of a distinctive and particularly democratic consumer ethos, which is still being played out today.

By focusing on the consumer behavior of midwestern farmers, Sowing the American Dream provides illustrative examples of how Americans came to terms with the economic and ideological changes that swirled around them. From the formation of the Grange to the advent of mail-order catalogs, the buying patterns of rural midwesterners set the stage for the coming century.

Carefully documenting the rise and fall of the powerful purchasing cooperatives, David Blanke explains the shifting trends in collective consumerism, which ultimately resulted in a significant change in the way that midwestern consumers pursued their own regional identity, community, and independence.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821413487
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Edition description:
1
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tablesvii
Preface and Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: The Problem Itself1
1.Buying the Farm: The Midwest, Midwestern Farmers, and the Origins of a Regional Consumer Heritage, 1825-186012
2.Breaking the Prairie and Taming the Market: The Formation of a Consumer Ethos in the Rural Midwest31
3.The Men in the Middle: Agents and the Development of a Demand-Driven Consumer Economy, 1840-186166
4.An All-Consuming Vision: The Expression of Rural Consumer Ideology, 1865-187594
5.Town v. Country: Advertising and Consumer Patterns, 1865-1880132
6.A Battle of Standards: The Renunciation of the Rural Consumer Ethos by the Patrons of Husbandry, 1875-1882161
7.Mail Order: The Commercialization of the Rural Consumer Ethos, 1873-1906184
Conclusion216
Appendix 1Delaware County Granges221
Appendix 2Advertisements227
Notes233
Index279

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