Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Jane T. Merritt

Committee Member

Ingo Heidbrink

Committee Member

Timothy Orr

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 M468 2014


This paper will study the effects that the expansion of consumerism and nonimportation had in the colony of Virginia. It will analyze the validity of the arguments made by T. H. Breen's The Marketplace of Revolution. Breen's first contention was that a world of goods had been formed in the American colonies and that this consumer culture helped unite the colonists. This second contention was that the non-importation and non-consumption associations were successful in unifying the colonies and quelling opposition to the Continental cause.

Evidence of the growth of consumerism in mid-eighteenth century America will be analyzed and a determination will be made regarding whether consumerism created a sense of national identity amongst the colonists. Furthermore, a thorough examination of the success of the non-importation and non-consumption associations in Virginia will be conducted.

This work will conclude having proved that the world of goods in colonial Virginia did indeed play a role in creating an American national identity. Furthermore, the non-importation associations were successful in creating a sense of inter- and intracolonial unity in Virginia. However, while the earlier Stamp Act association led to policy changes in Great Britain, the later Continental Association of 1774-1775 failed to have an impact on British policy towards the colonies.


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