This chapter examines the modernization of American society by focusing on economic issues such as industrialization and the decline of household manufacturing. It first provides an overview of economic development in America between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries before discussing the shift from an economy that was largely based on agriculture and barter to one that was based much more on the monetary exchange of services and industrially produced goods. It then analyzes money-based commerce and the role magazines played in this rapidly growing part of the economy, along with the rise of rationality and “science” in America. It also investigates how magazines fostered the development of scientific agriculture and concludes by exploring the ways in which agricultural magazines supported communities of practice that had a distinctly traditional, antimodern cast.
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