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Thrift and Thriving in AmericaCapitalism and Moral Order from the Puritans to the Present$
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Joshua Yates and James Davison Hunter

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769063.001.0001

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Moderation in the First Era of Popular Consumption

Moderation in the First Era of Popular Consumption

(p.139) 6 Moderation in the First Era of Popular Consumption
Thrift and Thriving in America

Joyce Appleby

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how anxiety over the status of luxury only grew more acute in the transition from colonial hardship to national prosperity in the era of the early Republic. Fear of famine was largely eliminated, concentration on bare survival made way for concern with economic growth, and ordinary people began to produce, and enjoy on a large scale, “goods to comfort and adorn body and home.” While moderation, restraint, and self-discipline—variations on the theme of thrift—were not abandoned, their religious and moral justifications were gradually supplemented and in some cases replaced by instrumental and economic ones.

Keywords:   thrift, national prosperity, early Republic, economic growth

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