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Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in Americaby Lawrence B. Glickman
Synopses & Reviews
A definitive history of consumer activism, Buying Power traces the lineage of this political tradition back to our nation’s founding, revealing that Americans used purchasing power to support causes and punish enemies long before the word boycott even entered our lexicon. Taking the Boston Tea Party as his starting point, Lawrence Glickman argues that the rejection of British imports by revolutionary patriots inaugurated a continuous series of consumer boycotts, campaigns for safe and ethical consumption, and efforts to make goods more broadly accessible. He explores abolitionist-led efforts to eschew slave-made goods, African American consumer campaigns against Jim Crow, a 1930s refusal of silk from fascist Japan, and emerging contemporary movements like slow food. Uncovering previously unknown episodes and analyzing famous events from a fresh perspective, Glickman illuminates moments when consumer activism intersected with political and civil rights movements. He also sheds new light on activists’ relationship with the consumer movement, which gave rise to lobbies like the National Consumers League and Consumers Union as well as ill-fated legislation to create a federal Consumer Protection Agency.
About the Author
Lawrence B. Glickman is professor of history at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society.
Table of Contents
Introduction: An American Political Tradition
Part I: The Birth of Consumer Activism
1 The American Revolution Considered as a Consumer Movement
2 Buy for the Sake of the Slave
3 Rebel Consumerism
4 Travels of the Boycott: Whats in a Name?
Part II: The Birth of the Consumer Movement
5 Remaking Consumer Activism in the Progressive Era
6 The Strike in the Temple of Consumption
7 “Make Lisle the Style”
Part III: Advocates and Activists: Consumer Activism since World War II
8 Putting the Postwar “Consumer Movement” in Its Place
9 The Rise and Fall of the Consumer Protection Agency: The Origins of American AntiAntiliberalism, 1959-1978
Epilogue: Consumer Activism Comes Full Circle: The Revival of Consumer Activism in Contemporary America
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