The Role of Consumerism in the American Colonies

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In the 17th Century Colonization of America

In the 17th century, American nation was quickly colonized by Europeans. The colonies in Chesapeake and the New England appeared to be completely different socially, economically and politically. The two areas bonded to form the New World even though they had unique and separate identities.

Economic Differences

Economically, the Chesapeake colonies was characterized by an agrarian economy which was mainly based on plantation agriculture (Foner 61). The economy hugely relied only on cash crops such as rice, tobacco, and indigo. On the contrary, in New England, the economy was industrialized. The region which had Yankees did not carry out farming as a major economic activity. The soil in New England was not able to support farming. As a result, the economy was founded on industries like shipbuilding and fishing. The reliance on industries led to the rise to a class of tradesman and merchants such as shipwrights, blacksmiths, and tanners. Chesapeake colonies lacked substantial professional class which culminated in the formation of the Virginia Company which imported skilled laborers from non-Anglo Europe.

Social Differences

Socially, the New England societies were joined together by common religious geography, and the communities were tightly knit. Contrastingly, for Chesapeake colonies, plantations were scattered out in the swampy wilderness, and the towns were few. Chesapeake also experienced many dreadful diseases, and this lowered the life expectancy of the population in areas like Marylanders and Virginians (Foner 63). Some of the residents did not live to see their twentieth birthday. Chesapeake had higher unbalanced gender ratio. For example, in the 1650s, the ratio of men to women was 6:1 (Foner 65). The Chesapeake families were unstable and thus it was common for women to get married three to four times. However, in New England women had less power as oppose to Chesapeake as women opportunities were limited by the Patriarchal Puritan values (Foner 64). The New Englanders especially the Puritans comprised of a common religious purpose and was the center of the "The Great Awakening" that led to the growth of evangelism (Foner 64). On the other hand, the Chesapeake colonies were mainly secular.

Political Differences

Politically, the two colonies had fledgling examples of self-government, and both were theocratic. In New England, the Puritans dominated the political affairs while in the Chesapeake, the Anglican Church was the state church.

Migration Preferences

When given a choice, I would have migrated to New England. The region was exceptionally developed industrially. New England had a higher life expectancy compared to Chesapeake. In the south, the stagnant swamps provided a breeding ground for diseases like yellow fever, malaria, Dysentery, and Typhus which were harmful to human health. On the contrary, the environment in New England was appealing to human health and was not prone to diseases. The development of industries in New England meant that the region was advanced technologically and this made life easier. Chesapeake was also prone to slavery and segregation was rampant. Again, education was not easily available as manly families could not afford it unlike in New England. Therefore, my migration the North would be prompted by the availability of public education in the area. Besides, new England stressed on local government where the voice of everyone was heard, but in the south, political power was vested in the hands of the fewer rich people.

Role of Consumerism on the American Colonies in the 17th And 18th Centuries

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the rise in consumerism took an unprecedented turn and greatly impacted on the way of life. Consumerization encouraged mass production of products due to the ever-increasing industrial revolution. The mass production led to the creation of huge revenues and profits on the colonies.

Economic Impact of Consumerism

Consumerization also led to the development in capitalism which was a system of the market that advocated for free trade and nongovernment intervention (Foner 217). The private sector produced more good for profit purposes. The overproduction and widespread growth of markets impacted on the economic institutions. Hence, the rise of consumerism had a significant role in overproduction which made the colonies to accumulate wealth. Consumerization drastically increased the availability of consumer goods which led to overconsumption. It also played a critical role in the growth of the industrial sector and development of new technological methods of production. Consumerism also had an important role in lowering the prices of the products. The reduction in prices made the goods affordable to people. The rise of consumerism improved on the standards of living. It also played a role in the growth of industrial infrastructures such as transportation, steel, mining, networks and communication networks. Besides, there was the growth of industrial cities and financial centers due to growth in the economy (Foner 309). There was the growth of market places which attracted more sellers and buyers. The advent of consumerism also created more jobs for the locals. Many people were employed in the industries to aid in the production process. Therefore, the economic situation of people improved. However, the act of consumerism led to environmental degradation and encroachment of land. Besides, it promoted slavery as many slaves were brought in to work on the plants.

Affordability and Technological Impact

The most critical role of the rise of consumerism was making the products affordable to the population due to mass production. The advent of consumerization shifted the paradigm of shopping experiences. The mass production was vital as it led to a reduction in the prices due to the oversupply of goods. With this, many people were able to buy the basic needs and thus impacted on their standards of living. Consumerization made the business people rethink about their means of production. Many employed new methods of technology which vitally led to mass production which later lowered the prices in the market. Large enterprises became largely dependent on the new forms of technology to produce their goods.

Work Cited

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!.

Seagull Edition, 4th edition, vol 1. 2000.

November 13, 2023

History Life World

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