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
     
 

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… See more details below

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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780821413487
Publisher:
Ohio University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Edition description:
1
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.03(h) x 0.85(d)

Table of Contents

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

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