Catalogue


The marketplace of revolution : how consumer politics shaped American independence /
T.H. Breen.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, c2004.
description
xviii, 380 p.
ISBN
0195063953 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, c2004.
isbn
0195063953 (cloth : alk. paper)
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
5095326
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
T. H. Breen is William Smith Mason Professor of American History at Northwestern University.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-11-17:
The author of this profoundly important book achieves what most historians only dream of. He propels forward to a new stage of understanding a subject-the origins of the American Revolution-that is large, complex and vexed by controversy. Breen's thesis is quite simple: the colonists' experiences as consumers gave them the ability to develop new and effective forms of social action that eventuated in revolution. What's brilliant about the book is that it focuses on the slow development of the shared trust, brought about first by commerce and then by commercial protests (like "tea parties" and boycotts of British goods), essential to sustain a revolution over so large a territory and among so diverse a set of colonies. Trust is not usually a historical subject, but Northwestern University historian Breen (Imagining the Past, etc.) makes it critical to his story. There's much else to lure serious readers-insights, for example, into the awakening of women's political action and into how people can mobilize themselves for what they take to be the common good. But don't be deceived by fluent prose and diverting evidence. This is a demanding book, built upon a lifetime of learning, about a huge subject. It's also, by implication, of great current relevance. What's more, by putting economic boycotts into the center of the Revolution's origins, Breen revives an interpretive theme that's languished for 50 years. This, among many other features of the book, makes clear that those who may have thought that there was not much new to be said about the Revolution were wrong. 40 illus. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
"The most original interpretation of how the American Revolution happened to appear in print in the last fifty years." --Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
"The most original interpretation of how the American Revolution happenedto appear in print in the last fifty years." --Joseph J. Ellis, author ofFounding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
"This interesting work offers an original perspective and some provocative conclusions."--Booklist
"This interesting work offers an original perspective and some provocativeconclusions."--Booklist
"With his new book T.H. Breen, who is one of the most imaginative and productive of early American historians, has carried scholarly interest in consumption in the eighteenth century to a new level.... By the time he is halfway or so through his book, Breen has succeeded admirably in provingthe widespread availability of imported British consumer goods in the eighteenth-century colonies. This part of the book is a model of careful historical reconstruction. No one has ever demonstrated as fully and as exhaustively the nature and extent of American buying in the eighteenthcentury."--Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books
"With his new book T.H. Breen, who is one of the most imaginative and productive of early American historians, has carried scholarly interest in consumption in the eighteenth century to a new level.... By the time he is halfway or so through his book, Breen has succeeded admirably in proving the widespread availability of imported British consumer goods in the eighteenth-century colonies. This part of the book is a model of careful historical reconstruction. No one has ever demonstrated as fully and as exhaustively the nature and extent of American buying in the eighteenth century."--Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books "The most original interpretation of how the American Revolution happened to appear in print in the last fifty years."--Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation "The author of this profoundly important book achieves what most historians only dream of. He propels forward to a new stage of understanding a subject--the origins of the American Revolution--that is large, complex and vexed by controversy."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A powerfully argued book. Not only does it offer a detailed account of the workings of the eighteenth-century Atlantic economy--tracing the movement of an increasing variety of manufactured goods from Great Britain into the hands of an ever growing number of colonial consumers--but it also contains an imaginative interpretation of the origins of the American Revolution, transforming the Americans' extraordinary consumer power into political power."--Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution "Breen has demonstrated and documented, as never before, the popular origins of the American Revolution. In doing so he has given us new insights into the way a widely dispersed people forged a national identity. This is a seminal work that will affect all future understanding of our national beginnings." --Edmund S. Morgan, author of Benjamin Franklin "Breen draws a rich portrait of a Colonial society saturated with what Samuel Adams called 'the Baubles of Britain': everything from fine china to Cheshire cheese. The colonists were divided by religion and industry, but the shared a common identity as consumers of British products--and, increasingly, as wronged consumers, once Britain levied exorbitant tariffs and used America as a dumping ground for surplus goods. Tea, the Coca-Cola of its day, became a symbol of imperial overreach. Colonists reacted with what Breen sees as the Revolution's brilliant innovation: the consumer boycott. Benjamin Franklin told Parliament that, while the pride of Americans had been 'to indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great Britain,' it was now 'to wear their old cloaths over again.' Because they shopped together, Americans could rebel together."--The New Yorker "Breen, an especially accomplished and insightful historian, offers an innovative explanation for the sudden and surprising creation of an American identity and union."--The New Republic "This interesting work offers an original perspective and some provocative conclusions."--Booklist "Both elegantly written and informed by the latest scholarship, this volume makes the outbreak of the American Revolution more comprehensible than anything currently on the shelves of your mega bookstore by focusing less on the theories of the founding fathers and more on the not-so-self-sufficient American colonists and the way their mass consumption led to their mass mobilization." --Carole Shammas, John R. Hubbard Chair in History, University of Southern California "Given the depth of its scholarship, The Marketplace of Revolution is a surprisingly easy read...the well-worn story of the American Revolution gains an entirely unexpected urgency and suspense in his telling."--New York Observer "Breen makes a convincing case for the primacy of consumer interests in forging a unity among t
"The author of this profoundly important book achieves what mosthistorians only dream of. He propels forward to a new stage of understanding asubject--the origins of the American Revolution--that is large, complex andvexed by controversy.... This is a demanding book, built upon a lifetime oflearning, about a huge subject. It's also, by implication, of great currentrelevance. What's more, by putting economic boycotts into the center of theRevolution's origins, Breen revives an interpretive theme that's languished for50 years. This, among many other features of the book, makes clear that thosewho may have thought that there was not much new to be said about the Revolutionwere wrong."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"With his new book T.H. Breen, who is one of the most imaginative and productive of early American historians, has carried scholarly interest in consumption in the eighteenth century to a new level.... By the time he is halfway or so through his book, Breen has succeeded admirably in proving the widespread availability of imported British consumer goods in the eighteenth-century colonies. This part of the book is a model of careful historical reconstruction. No one has ever demonstrated as fully and as exhaustively the nature and extent of American buying in the eighteenth century."--Gordon S. Wood,The New York Review of Books "The most original interpretation of how the American Revolution happened to appear in print in the last fifty years."--Joseph J. Ellis, author ofFounding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation "The author of this profoundly important book achieves what most historians only dream of. He propels forward to a new stage of understanding a subject--the origins of the American Revolution--that is large, complex and vexed by controversy."--Publishers Weekly(starred review) "A powerfully argued book. Not only does it offer a detailed account of the workings of the eighteenth-century Atlantic economy--tracing the movement of an increasing variety of manufactured goods from Great Britain into the hands of an ever growing number of colonial consumers--but it also contains an imaginative interpretation of the origins of the American Revolution, transforming the Americans'' extraordinary consumer power into political power."--Gordon S. Wood, author ofThe Radicalism of the American Revolution "Breen has demonstrated and documented, as never before, the popular origins of the American Revolution. In doing so he has given us new insights into the way a widely dispersed people forged a national identity. This is a seminal work that will affect all future understanding of our national beginnings." --Edmund S. Morgan, author ofBenjamin Franklin "Breen draws a rich portrait of a Colonial society saturated with what Samuel Adams called ''the Baubles of Britain'': everything from fine china to Cheshire cheese. The colonists were divided by religion and industry, but the shared a common identity as consumers of British products--and, increasingly, as wronged consumers, once Britain levied exorbitant tariffs and used America as a dumping ground for surplus goods. Tea, the Coca-Cola of its day, became a symbol of imperial overreach. Colonists reacted with what Breen sees as the Revolution''s brilliant innovation: the consumer boycott. Benjamin Franklin told Parliament that, while the pride of Americans had been ''to indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great Britain,'' it was now ''to wear their old cloaths over again.'' Because they shopped together, Americans could rebel together."--The New Yorker "Breen, an especially accomplished and insightful historian, offers an innovative explanation for the sudden and surprising creation of an American identity and union."--The New Republic "This interesting work offers an original perspective and some provocative conclusions."--Booklist "Both elegantly written and informed by the latest scholarship, this volume makes the outbreak of the American Revolution more comprehensible than anything currently on the shelves of your mega bookstore by focusing less on the theories of the founding fathers and more on the not-so-self-sufficient American colonists and the way their mass consumption led to their mass mobilization." --Carole Shammas, John R. Hubbard Chair in History, University of Southern California "Given the depth of its scholarship,The Marketplace of Revolutionis a surprisingly easy read...the well-worn story of the American Revolution gains an entirely unexpected urgency and suspense in his telling."--New York Observer "Breen makes a convincing case for the primacy of consumer interests in forging a unity among the colonies, and eventually creating the American union. Densely argued, with a wealth of examples."--Kirkus Reviews
"Breen makes a convincing case for the primacy of consumer interests in forging a unity among the colonies, and eventually creating the American union. Densely argued, with a wealth of examples."--Kirkus Reviews
"Breen makes a convincing case for the primacy of consumer interests inforging a unity among the colonies, and eventually creating the American union.Densely argued, with a wealth of examples."--Kirkus Reviews
"Given the depth of its scholarship, The Marketplace of Revolution is a surprisingly easy read...the well-worn story of the American Revolution gains an entirely unexpected urgency and suspense in his telling."--New York Observer
"Given the depth of its scholarship, The Marketplace of Revolution is asurprisingly easy read...the well-worn story of the American Revolution gains anentirely unexpected urgency and suspense in his telling."--New YorkObserver
... raise[s] important questions about the politics of consumption in the early modern era, adding a valuable dimension to what has proved one of the liveliest historical fields in the past twenty years.
"The author of this profoundly important book achieves what most historians only dream of. He propels forward to a new stage of understanding a subject--the origins of the American Revolution--that is large, complex and vexed by controversy.... This is a demanding book, built upon a lifetimeof learning, about a huge subject. It's also, by implication, of great current relevance. What's more, by putting economic boycotts into the center of the Revolution's origins, Breen revives an interpretive theme that's languished for 50 years. This, among many other features of the book, makesclear that those who may have thought that there was not much new to be said about the Revolution were wrong."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Breen draws a rich portrait of a Colonial society saturated with whatSamuel Adams called 'the Baubles of Britain': everything from fine china toCheshire cheese. The colonists were divided by religion and industry, but theshared a common identity as consumers of British products--and, increasingly, aswronged consumers, once Britain levied exorbitant tariffs and used America as adumping ground for surplus goods. Tea, the Coca-Cola of its day, became asymbol of imperial overreach. Colonists reacted with what Breen sees as theRevolution's brilliant innovation: the consumer boycott. Benjamin Franklin toldParliament that, while the pride of Americans had been 'to indulge in thefashions and manufactures of Great Britain,' it was now 'to wear their oldcloaths over again.' Because they shopped together, Americans could rebeltogether."--The New Yorker
"Breen has demonstrated and documented, as never before, the popular origins of the American Revolution. In doing so he has given us new insights into the way a widely dispersed people forged a national identity. This is a seminal work that will affect all future understanding of ournational beginnings." --Edmund S. Morgan, author of Benjamin Franklin
"Breen has demonstrated and documented, as never before, the popularorigins of the American Revolution. In doing so he has given us new insightsinto the way a widely dispersed people forged a national identity. This is aseminal work that will affect all future understanding of our nationalbeginnings." --Edmund S. Morgan, author of Benjamin Franklin
"Breen draws a rich portrait of a Colonial society saturated with what Samuel Adams called 'the Baubles of Britain': everything from fine china to Cheshire cheese. The colonists were divided by religion and industry, but the shared a common identity as consumers of British products--and,increasingly, as wronged consumers, once Britain levied exorbitant tariffs and used America as a dumping ground for surplus goods. Tea, the Coca-Cola of its day, became a symbol of imperial overreach. Colonists reacted with what Breen sees as the Revolution's brilliant innovation: the consumerboycott. Benjamin Franklin told Parliament that, while the pride of Americans had been 'to indulge in the fashions and manufactures of Great Britain,' it was now 'to wear their old cloaths over again.' Because they shopped together, Americans could rebel together."--The New Yorker
"Both elegantly written and informed by the latest scholarship, thisvolume makes the outbreak of the American Revolution more comprehensible thananything currently on the shelves of your mega bookstore by focusing less on thetheories of the founding fathers and more on the not-so-self-sufficient Americancolonists and the way their mass consumption led to their mass mobilization."--Carole Shammas, John R. Hubbard Chair in History, University of SouthernCalifornia
"Breen, an especially accomplished and insightful historian, offers an innovative explanation for the sudden and surprising creation of an American identity and union."--The New Republic
"Breen, an especially accomplished and insightful historian, offers aninnovative explanation for the sudden and surprising creation of an Americanidentity and union."--The New Republic
"A powerfully argued book. Not only does it offer a detailed account ofthe workings of the eighteenth-century Atlantic economy--tracing the movement ofan increasing variety of manufactured goods from Great Britain into the hands ofan ever growing number of colonial consumers--but it also contains animaginative interpretation of the origins of the American Revolution,transforming the Americans' extraordinary consumer power into political power."--Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
"A powerfully argued book. Not only does it offer a detailed account of the workings of the eighteenth-century Atlantic economy--tracing the movement of an increasing variety of manufactured goods from Great Britain into the hands of an ever growing number of colonial consumers--but it alsocontains an imaginative interpretation of the origins of the American Revolution, transforming the Americans' extraordinary consumer power into political power." --Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, November 2003
Booklist, January 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main 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 overcome difference and create a common causecapable 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 beforethey 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 movementorganized 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 Americanresistance--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, streetprotests, 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 ofempowerment. 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 gavepolitical meaning to the pursuit of happiness and learned how to make goods speak to power.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a new interpretation about the coming of the American Revolution. Breen focuses on how the American colonists accumulated consumer goods from England, especially since 1740.
Long 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 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.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. IX
Introduction: The Revolutionary Politics of Consumptionp. XI
Tale of the Hospitable Consumer: A Revolutionary Argumentp. 1
An Empire of Goods
Inventories of Desire: The Evidencep. 33
Consumers' New World: The Unintended Consequences of Commercial Successp. 72
Vade Mecum: The Great Chain of Colonial Acquisitionp. 102
The Corrosive Logic of Choice: Living with Goodsp. 148
"A Commercial Plan for Political Salvation"
Strength out of Dependence: Strategies of Consumer Resistance in an Empire of Goodsp. 195
Making Lists--Taking Names: The Politicization of Everyday Lifep. 235
Bonfires of Tea: The Final Actp. 294
Notesp. 333
Indexp. 373
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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