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History lecture 11

by: Ashley Albers

History lecture 11 Hist 1200

Ashley Albers
GPA 3.3

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lecture 11 of History 1200
Survey of American History Since 1865
Steven Watts
Class Notes
History 1200 Mizzou
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashley Albers on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Hist 1200 at University of Missouri - Columbia taught by Steven Watts in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 14 views. For similar materials see Survey of American History Since 1865 in History at University of Missouri - Columbia.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
From Salvation to Self- Realization The Birth of Consumer Culture I. Consumer Capitalism a. Shift from producer capitalism to consumer capitalism around the dawn of the 20 century i. Earlier industrial revolution relied on heavy industrial goods like railroad and steel production 1. Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller ii. What you begin to see is American industry is so good at producing these goods the market is saturated with how much it can absorb of these products, smart business men start shifting their attention into the direction of consumer goods 1. i.e. washing machines, toothpaste, cars 2. Cornucopia of consumer goods b. Henry Ford is a pioneer figure who popularizes the automobile in Detroit i. In 1911 he opens his famous automobile plant in highland park the model T ii. Uses the assembly line, on scientific management, work is brought to workers and everyone does one little task and hundreds of hundreds of small actions is a kind of economy of scale never seen before in industry 1. By the 1920s producing millions of model T’s and he put America on wheels because of how cheaply he produced these more people could afford cars iii. Automobile is not just a practical item but a consumer item 1. As a consumer item a kind of sign of success in American life 2. Working class and middle class people who can afford a car is a sign that they’ve made it, it’s a status thing, if you buy a car its proof you’re doing okay iv. Advertising the model T 1. Ford’s advertising company launches a campaign saying “Buy a Ford and save the difference” an inexpensive item and you can save money 2. Ford looked unhappy and scratched out the word saved and rewrote it “buy a ford and spend the difference” a. The substitution of the word is historically very important because it suggests the new consumer ethic, instead of saving you spend c. Cultural problem because people were raised Victorian so the right way to go about things was self-control, saving and culturally speaking the old ethic is not mixed well with the new consumer ethic of gratification of spending and fulfilling your desires rather than controlling your desires i. As a result of this problem is a new culture, a shift from old Victorian culture to a new culture of self- fulfillment 1. In the culture of self-fulfillment the stress is on fulfilling your desires not suppressing your desires ii. Begin to see a new emphasis on “personality” and instead of firm moral character that internalized by Victorians, you start to see personalities iii. Also begin to see the word “abundance” every where you look you see emphasis of abundance 1. America the land of “abundance” II. The New Middle Class a. Old middle class was back in the 1800s and a middle class of small businessmen and those who enter into the early industrial revolution and market economy as self employed th b. By early 20 century you start seeing the new middle class and a lot of the middle class are white collar employees (people who work in big bureaucracies) i. i.e. Big education, big law firms, etc. ii. Salary employees, work at desks with hundreds of other employees, paper pushers, clerks, desk jobs th iii. By early 20 century this is more and more the norm c. The linkage between the old and new i. “Efficiency” 1. Begin to see by the 1910s-30s in big bureaucratic businesses you see work being broken down into components and people are doing smaller and smaller jobs, restricted work, and as a result not very satisfying 2. White collar workers begin to feel same sort of malaise as the blue collar workers feel at the assembly line 3. Payoff for white collar workers is the salary, harder you work, more salary, the more salary the more consumption a. Get in on the life of “abundance” 4. Drive of efficiency leads to consumption ii. Nature of bureaucracy 1. If you work in a white collar society, its important to get along with the other people, to have good social skills, and you need a good “personality” a. Dale Carnegie becomes a popular guy by the 1920s/30s because more than any other person he understands more about the white collar world and he teaches people how to public speak and he’s very successful at it b. Eventually writes a book with his lectures and articles How to Win Friends and Influence People, sold somewhere between 40million copies and is a runaway best seller i. Argues that in the modern world (white collar work) the key to everything is personality, the key is human relations ii. To rise to success there’s no more of this Victorian stern morals but to cultivate an image that you project to people, you need to understand peoples needs and care about other people iii. Makes it clear that if you do these things people will like you and if people like you you’ll be successful in white collar work 2. If you are successful and rise up in personality you will be successful and be able to consume more and participate in this consumer culture III. Experts and the Family a. The family is a haven or an escape from the brutality of the market place, dominated by women, place of self-control and character b. By 1920s begins to shift and you begin to see the notion of the family as a haven not for character but as a haven for consumer goods, the enjoyment or display of consumer goods i. Prototype of the house in the suburbs c. Increasingly defined as a place for the formation of personality, personality is pushed into youngsters as they grow up d. Begin to see several themes that permeate the course of family i. Liberation of the family 1. Notion that the family needs to be liberated from old Victorian restraints so that the family can enjoy other things in the world 2. Liberation through consumption a. The automobile - if dad/mom have a car you can go on vacations, enjoy the world around them ii. Youthfulness 1. Becomes kind of ideal for the first time in American culture 2. Idea that to be young is to be vibrant and to be with it, so mom/dad try to appear young and be young 3. Try to be on the cutting edge of enjoying and fulfilling life iii. Efficiency 1. The best way to understand this is to look at emergence of domestic science with regard to family life a. In colleges and in high schools you start to see slow development of domestic science which is the notion of bringing experts into the family to help the family move more efficiently b. Things like women’s magazines begin to emerge (i.e. Good Housekeeping) c. Domestic scientists begin to look at the home and see how everything is done and they begin to restructure it along scientific methods i. Use of all the latest appliances d. Declaration of war on germs IV. Advertising a. Need to know in order to understand consumerism b. Old fashion advertising was largely of one type and almost without fail would tell people if you buy this good it is a good durable product and you’ll get your moneys worth c. Beginning in the 1890s and early 20 thcentury you see a new kind of advertising and it has almost nothing to do with quality but rather if you buy this product it will make you happy or it will help with image/fulfillment d. Advertising becomes a kind of commercial therapy i. Buying goods will make you happy 1. Toothpaste will make you beautiful; Camay soap is the soap of beautiful women; cigarettes as “torches of freedom” ii. Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows 1. Advertiser in NYC, but shifts to write this book, a biography of Jesus of Nazareth 2. Crafted by an ad man, the Jesus who appears in his book is so amazing because of his personality, he understood the need for advertising 3. He says is a popular person because he sparkles when other people see him Vocab Henry Ford Self-fulfillment “Personality” “Abundance” Dale Carnegie, How to Win friends and Influence People Domestic Science Good Housekeeping Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows


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