A New American Consumer Culture

Review Questions

Which of the following did not contribute to the growth of a consumer culture in the United States at the close of the nineteenth century?

  1. personal credit
  2. advertising
  3. greater disposable income
  4. mail-order catalogs



Briefly explain Roland Marchand’s argument in the Parable of the Democracy of Goods.


Marchand argues that in the new era of consumerism, workers’ desire for access to consumer goods replaces their desire for access to the means of production of those goods. So long as Americans could buy products that advertisers convinced them would make them look and feel wealthy, they did not need to fight for access to the means of wealth.