American Commodities in an Age of Empire by Mona Domosh

By Mona Domosh

This can be a novel interpretation of the connection among consumerism, commercialism, and imperialism through the first empire development period of the USA within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. in contrast to different empires in background, which have been often equipped on army energy, the 1st American empire used to be essentially a advertisement one, devoted to pushing items in a foreign country and dominating overseas markets. whereas the yank govt was once vital, it was once the nice capitalist businesses of the US – Heinz, Singer, McCormick, Kodak, regular Oil – that drove the imperial method, explicitly linking the acquisition of patron items in a foreign country with 'civilization'. Their chronic message to America's searching for what you offer used to be, 'buy American items and sign up for the march of progress'. Domosh additionally explores how the pictures of peoples out of the country conveyed via items increased America's feel of itself on the earth.

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Other considerations were required for foreign manufacture, including research into and attention paid to the location of raw materials, the location and design of production sites, and supplies and costs of labor. The American economic empire, in other words, was marked with and constituted through complex business transactions and relationships. Yet “doing business” in and with other countries required a more flexible view of world order than what has generally been called “colonial” — a view in which nations are fixed as either colonizers or colonies.

See, for example, the essays in Kaplan and Pease (1993) and Wexler (2000). The essays in Gilbert M. Joseph, Catherine C. LeGrand, and Ricardo D. -Latin American Relations (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998) provide cultural readings of the informal power of the United States, limited though to the countries of Latin America. 25. Crinson (1996). 26. Gertjan Dijkink, National Identity and Geopolitical Visions: Maps of Pride and Pain (New York: Routledge, 1996). 27. Susan Strasser, Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989); Rosenberg (1982).

In addition to retail shops and sales agencies, American companies built and managed manufacturing plants, resource extraction sites, and headquarter and other office buildings. This sort of extensive commercial empire was first made possible by the incredible investments in transportation technologies. Although hardly reaching the scale of contemporary global networking, the international shipping and rail networks that allowed for the commercial expansion of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were fairly well developed, and by the standards of their time, quite vast.

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