British Consumer Culture

Great Essays
The British Empire at its capstone not only conquered vast amounts of land but in doing so also integrated their traditions as well. Items such as Sugar, Tea, Cotton, and other luxuries from foreign lands were established by the British and became British cultural symbols. These symbols were no longer associated with their native lands and thus became aspects of British Culture. Consequently, this gave rise to the need for an empire in order to maintain the newly integrated cultural ideals. Thus, the demand for certain goods increased, however the only way to acquire them was via the Empire. Therefore by creating a consumer culture amongst their own people, Britain became a market for their goods. British citizens quickly began to realize …show more content…
Cotton has historically been one of Britain’s most important products, especially during the industrial era with so many cotton factories creating products for consumers. However before that era, most British cotton came from oversees, primarily in the Americas colonies. Cotton and cotton factories oddly enough however, lead to such things as increased wage, and stronger unions. According to author James Mann, within his book, The cotton trade of Great Britain: its rise, progress, and present extent, he outlines exactly why that is. Mann states; “The use of a cotton lieu, and cotton warps, permitted a greater reduction in cost than hither to be known. The demand for these goods consequently increased, the shuttle flew with increased energy, and the weavers earned immoderately high wages.” This displays how cotton effected the life of the working class, its mass consumption and demand not only had effects on the free market, but on citizens themselves, the working class in particular. People now were able to demand better working conditions due to the need of the product produced. Factory owners were so desperate to sell their products that appeasing their workers became the common practice. This lead better working conditions for many working class people, due to the need to keep up with the demand of …show more content…
Early on in the Empire, many either knew but did not care about slavery, or simply remained oblivious to it. That changed however in the later stages if the Empire as the demand for luxury goods increased, so did that of slaves. However, two large abstention campaigns came about in England in 1791-92 and 1824-25. According to author Claire Midgely, in “Slave SUGAR Boycotts, Female activism and the Domestic Base of British anti-slavery culture.” She states that, “The abstention campaign was the keystone of a wider movement to convert Britain into a nation of anti-slavery households.” The anti-slavery movement in a way became a culture shaped by that of ordinary women in their households. Thus it is important to take a step back and note that we now can witness subculture forming out of a previous older issue. More specifically, we see the anti-slavery class, with its artwork of slave ships and portraits of slave women, stem from the increasing consumer class of Britain. Another author by the name of Kale Madhavi in her book. Fragments of Empire: Capital, Slavery, and Indian Indentured Labor Migration in the British Caribbean, points out two varying yet notable perspectives in Britain at the time in regards to slavery. Madhavi points out that one man named Sir Thomas Cobden, a member of parliament who adamantly opposed

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