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Sold AmericanConsumption and Citizenship, 1890-1945$
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Charles F. McGovern

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830338

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807876640_mcgovern

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Introduction Inventing Consumers

Introduction Inventing Consumers

Citizenship and Culture

(p.1) Introduction Inventing Consumers
Sold American

Charles F. McGovern

University of North Carolina Press

Between the late nineteenth century and the Depression, spending was an important ritual of national identity. Arguing that spending is a form of citizenship, this book traces the origins of the now common associations of consuming with American freedom and citizenship. It pays particular attention to two groups of professionals: advertisers and consumerists. By examining their activities, the complex embrace of consumption in the twentieth century can be traced. The book also outlines advertising's invention of consumers as naturalized citizens, traces the origins of a consumer public interest and the consumerists' civic approach to spending and goods, and concludes with the story of the open conflict of these two groups during the Depression and World War II.

Keywords:   Depression, spending, national identity, citizenship, consuming, freedom, advertisers, consumerists, World War II

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