Consumerism in Colonial America

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Kevin Hall February 20, 2014 History 109 TTH 9:35am-11:10am Consumerism in Colonial America During the pre-revolutionary war era, our country was going through a drastic period of development that would lay down the spiritual and business foundations of our country. Immigrants were seeking religious freedom from parliament in Britain. Ports all along the eastern seaboard had an abundance of merchants and shopkeepers who sought to stimulate and to satisfy consumer demand for imported goods. In T.H. Breen’s essay “World of Goods in the Northern Colonies,” he states “that colonial Americans were increasingly concerned with becoming part of an empire of goods in the eighteenth century.” Colonial consumerism changed immigrant’s image of the colonies from a spiritual journey to an economically prosperous journey. The trading relationship between Britain and her colonies enriched British merchants and manufacturers, contributing to the growing colonies overall wealth. New England's rocky soil made farming extremely difficult. In contrast, the Atlantic Ocean offered many economic opportunities. New England’s coast contained some of the best fishing grounds in the world which made fish such as mackerel, cod, and halibut a valuable commodity for exchange with Britain. On the interior of New England, timber from the iron-hard oak trees created the shipbuilding business. New England's fish and timber were among its most valuable articles of trade. Coastal cities like Boston, Salem, New Haven, and Newport grew rich as a result of shipbuilding, fishing, and trade with Britain. This hunger for commerce eventually led to the decline of the Puritan religion in the New England colonies. One reason for this decline was that the drive for economic success competed with Puritan ideas. Many colonists, especially those who lived along the coast, seemed to care as much about

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