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Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America

Helen Tangires

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Originally published in 2003. In Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America Helen Tangires examines the role of the public marketplace—social and architectural—as a key site in the development of civic culture in America. More than simply places for buying and selling food, Tangires explains, municipally owned and operated markets were the common ground where citizens and government struggled to define the shared values of the community. Public markets were vital to civic policy and reflected the profound belief in the moral economy—the effort on the part of the…

Originally published in 2003. In Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America Helen Tangires examines the role of the public marketplace—social and architectural—as a key site in the development of civic culture in America. More than simply places for buying and selling food, Tangires explains, municipally owned and operated markets were the common ground where citizens and government struggled to define the shared values of the community. Public markets were vital to civic policy and reflected the profound belief in the moral economy—the effort on the part of the municipality to maintain the social and political health of its community by regulating the ethics of trade in the urban marketplace for food.

Tangires begins with the social, architectural, and regulatory components of the public market in the early republic, when cities embraced this ancient system of urban food distribution. By midcentury, the legalization of butcher shops in New York City and the incorporation of market house companies in Pennsylvania challenged the system and hastened the deregulation of this public service. Some cities demolished their marketing facilities or loosened restrictions on the food trades in an effort to deal with the privatization movement. However, several decades of experience with dispersed retailers, suburban slaughterhouses, and food transported by railroad proved disastrous to the public welfare, prompting cities and federal agencies to reclaim this urban civic space.

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Public Markets and Civic Culture in Nineteenth-Century America

Helen Tangires

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Reviews

Reviews

This well-illustrated book raises the intriguing possibility that municipal markets worked more like the neoclassical ideal than the unregulated markets ideologues hail.

An important and useful introduction to an understudied fixture in the history of urban economic life, governance and landscape.

Tangires uses a wealth of sources in this fascinating study of a topic only recently getting the attention it deserves... Highly recommended.

Tangire's work represents a major contribution to the understanding of social life in American cities.

The intriguing tale Tangires tells concerns, chiefly, the eclipse of the public market in the interest of the evolution of both private shops and megastores.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
292
ISBN
9781421437422
Illustration Description
86 halftones
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Part I. Building The Common Ground
Chapter 1. Market Laws in the Early Republic
Chapter 2. The Market House
Chapter 3. Marketplace Culture
Part II. Cracks in the Market Walls
Chapter 4

Preface
Introduction
Part I. Building The Common Ground
Chapter 1. Market Laws in the Early Republic
Chapter 2. The Market House
Chapter 3. Marketplace Culture
Part II. Cracks in the Market Walls
Chapter 4. The Legalizing of Private Meat Shops in Antebellum New York
Chapter 5. Market House Company Mania in Philadelphia
Chapter 6. The Landscape of DeregulationPart III Regaining a Share of the Marketplace
Chapter 7. Consumer Protection and the New Moral Economy
Chapter 8. Rebirth of the Municipal Market Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Helen Tangires

Helen Tangires is Administrator of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.