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9/5/13 Rethinking Our Nation’s OriginsMaterial Goods in Colonial America and the RevolutionIf people had money on hand they would buy goods, they made everything they used. Key Terms:Sumptuary lawsTownshend ActsHomespunEdenton Tea Party Major Themes:The use of consumer goods to create identities (people create identities buy what they chose to buy and what they don’t chose to buy) The debate over the morality of consumer acquisitiveness (is consumerism good for us)The political use of consumers’ choicesThe economic impact of consumerism Puritans and those in Jamestown they both begin differently but end up looking a lotlike each other because as they got richer they both began wanting fine things: silverbuttons, imported furnitureSlaves also play a role in consumerism they are the ones doing the back-breaking work to provide people with these fine goods.Puritans: they decide to leave London and Amsterdam because they felt that they were too much rapid materialism; everyone was too concerned with gold buttons, etc. Sumptuary laws: forbid conspicuous goods, you are not allowed to by frivolous goods, you are not allowed to buy shoes with silver buckles, or a dress with lace, if you do we will find you and we will kick you out if we catch you more than once. Puritans & Quakers enforce these laws because they find that consumerism is evil! The rich could get away with breaking the laws because they could pay the fines, butthe poor were the ones truly punished because they wanted to look like the rich but they couldn’t pay the fines. This made it obvious who was rich and who was poorPuritans & Quakers: believe that if people cared so much about your appearance youprobably don’t care about the poor. They believed that consumerism is immoral andthey are all rooted in what your consumerism looks like.Jamestown Others in the country believe that we are here to get rich! Producing goods with mass amounts of wealth so they can buy goods and they are shipping out these raw materials Native Americans: shared idea about consumption before the Europeans arrive. They have all this stuff that the Native Americans want before this they almost had no connection to a world of consumerism; they were pure producers. The settlers want to trade commercial goods with the Native Americans because they want whatthe N.A have too. They brought knives, fish hooks, an axe, these tools changed their world and value systems. It gives them a way to triumph they begin to want exactly what the European wants, they are drawn into the world of commercial exchange.Later in 18th century the puritans begin to say “I don’t want to be like my parents” I want silver buckles on my shoes, I want lace, etc. They still produce goods but if theyhave the money they want to buy as much as possibleColonial Exchanges They are buying FINE fabrics like silk, lace, chiffon, etc. which are then transferred into fancy clothesBuying porcelain, no longer want to drink from a cup from clay Silver candlesticks, they show refinement and class. (once people have a little bit of spending money they would buy goods)Musical instruments Revere Silver- silver tea set to entertain guestsPeople begin to worry about what the consumerism is doing to themDuring this time shop lifting sky rockets because people are stealing the things they cant affordLow-credit availability and then are slammed with HUGE interest rates 2 years later so people become engrossed in debt as the American Revolution approaches. 90% bought their goods on credit they did not have the CASH to buy stuff they thought that they would have the money later to pay.By the last quarter of the 18th century American’s LOVED consumer goods; they launched the American Revolution to save their goods! It was about cash money, about what they wanted to buy, but didn’t have the money, and high taxes. It is a consumers revolution, they begin to revolt because they couldn’t get their fix, the British imported goods they wanted.American Revolution is the first large scale political movement in recorded history to organize itself around the relation of ordinary people to manufactured consumer goods:If people could bring out their china cups, or musical instruments, they could say that we aren’t these backyard hicks, we are just like the Englishmen. They feel insulted when the English don’t see them the same way, when the English tax them differently than those in London, they are saying you are not actually one of us, you can put on your fancy clothes but you still aren’t one of us. They use their goods in attempt to form an identity. Parliament decides they need to generate revenue because they are in HUGE debt because of the French and Indian War. They say we just saved your ass and now youare going to pay us back so they begin taxing Americans.The British couldn’t understand why the Americans were so upset about these taxes. Wrong time of year? Wrong type of good? Its not the Americans feel they are being treated differently from everyone else and they shouldn’t be, and they demand to be treated as such and that is when they begin to revolt. Colonists want a part in deciding these taxes and how the money is raised. They want to protect British industries and companies they are concerned about the threat against Spanish and French. So they make sure that is cheaper to buy British goods than anywhere else. American’s don’t want that either; they want some sort of sayStamp Act: Direct Tax imposed by the British parliament on the North American it says that printed materials that are internal goods people must pay a tax. The taxes seem really unfair to American colonists so they make up these mock stamps to show how they feel about the Stamp Act. They found this a violation of their right, they didn’t have a say yet they are the ones who still have to pay ^ It gets merchants together with average consumers, etc. it brings people together because they all agree they hate the Stamp Act and the British. So they protest…and the stamp act was repealed (stamp act didn’t produce a lot of revenue). Again they misunderstand why the Americans are upset. They think its because its on internal goods but that is not the case. New tax, tax the IMPORTED goods, the stuff that they cannot produce on their own things like lead, glass, paint, tea. So this is where the colonists get so upset, we were upset because we didn’t get to weigh in on it, not because it was our


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UMD HIST 289R - Rethinking Our Nation’s Origins

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