Ready Made Democracy A History of Men's Dress in the American Republic 1760 1860 Summary » 109

Ready Made Democracy A History of Men's Dress in the American Republic 1760 1860

Michael Zakim À 9 Summary

On becoming a most tangible expression of the citizen's attachment to the public's happiness Coarse dress did not long remain in the wardrobe particularly not among those political classes who talked most about it Nevertheless exhortations of industry and simplicity became a fixture of American discourse over the following century of industrial revolution as the mass produced suit emerged as a.

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Ready Made Democracy explores the history of men's dress in America to consider how capitalism and democracy emerged at the center of social life during the century between the Revolution and the Civil War The story begins with the elevation of homespun clothing to a political ideology on the eve of Independence Homespun clothing tied the productive efforts of the household to those of the nati.

Download µ E-book, or Kindle E-pub À Michael Zakim

Badge of a uniuely virtuous American polity It is here Zakim argues in the evolution of homespun into its ready made opposite that men's dress proves to be both material and metaphor for the rise of democratic capitalism and a site of the new social arrangements of bourgeois lifeĀ  In thus illuminating the critical links among culture ideology political economy and fashion in antebellum America.


About the Author: Michael Zakim

A specialist in the material and cultural history of modernity in America Michael Zakim teaches at Tel Aviv University



3 thoughts on “Ready Made Democracy A History of Men's Dress in the American Republic 1760 1860

  1. says:

    The title of this book claims this is A History of Men's Dress in the American Republic until 1860 and it seems like that was a publisher's decision because this is a history of the men's garment industry in the US from about the 1830s to 1860 The author takes for granted that the reader knows as much about fashion as he does explaining little about what the fashions actually looked like or how they changed over 100 years they changed a LOT Homespun clothing gave way to the Industrial Revolution within about a half of a chapter in this book thus covering as much of the 18th century as the author saw fit The rest of the book deals with how the market took over and propped up a sartorial system in which all aspiring middle class white males dressed the same in the mid 19th century I guess I would mind this less if the book was actually readable instead of drowning in the academese spoken by the author


  2. says:

    Clothing as commodity and sign Around the revolution coarse homespun clothing was virtuous a rejection of British trade and the British political economy with its attendant lust for luxury which corroded virtue At Washington's first inaugural homespun was still key but not coarseness a republican state could make clothes as good or better than those of Old Europe The Industrial Revolution transformed both the production and cost of custom clothes and of ready mades Ready made clothing and the clerks who moved to the city to wear them were a sign of fluidity the city was fluid the people in the city were fluid With fine clothing or at least the facsimile of fine clothing available to anyone it was no longer possible to determine who was and who was not a gentleman The clerk came to the city dressed in ready made clothes with starched paper collars driven not by the 18th century evil of luxury but the 19th century enemy of virtue desire Mass consumption and mass production fed one another the sewing machine was not invented until 1852 until then the seamstress was the machine put out working 18 hours a day on piece work leading to a new and pitied creature the fallen woman By the eve of the Civil War coarse homespun was politicized again as the clothing of the southern slavers honest yeomen in their own estimation as opposed to the monied interests of the capitalist north wearing the American uniform the suit


  3. says:

    A fascinating look at the development of democracy and capitalism in 19th century America through the lens of men's dress The second half is interesting than the first but you need to get through the first part in order to have the base for what Zakim covers in the second


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