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The Trouble with Tea
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Table of Contents

Contents AcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsSeries Editor's Foreword Introduction: Consumer RevolutionsChapter 1: The English Commercial Empire ExpandsChapter 2: The Rise of a "Tea-fac'd Generation"Chapter 3: Politicizing American ConsumptionChapter 4: The Global Dimensions of the American Tea CrisisChapter 5: Repatriating Tea in Revolutionary AmericaChapter 6: Chinese Tea and American Commercial IndependenceConclusion NotesEssay on SourcesIndex

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By tackling a commodity we think we already know in its political, economic, and cultural dimensions, Jane T. Merritt demonstrates that the true story of tea is more complex and global than readers might expect. The Trouble with Tea is a surprising and detailed look at how the long-term moral debates over tea overlapped with and offered a vocabulary for the politicized debates of the Revolutionary War era. -- Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, author of The Ties that Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America Long before Bostonians dumped tea overboard, tea was trouble: as trading companies pushed it and consumers sipped it, tea sparked debates over free trade and dangerous luxuries. With her wide-ranging command of global commerce and domestic politics, Merritt tells a vital tale about how tea shaped our world. -- Benjamin L. Carp, author of Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America Merritt has produced an elegant commodity history, one that embeds the American Revolution in its global context and prompts a reconsideration of the early republic's political economy. Americans famously dumped their tea en route to independence, but Merritt tells the surprising story of how hard they worked to get it back in the wake of nationhood. -- Seth Rockman, coeditor of Slavery's Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development Merritt's remarkable study of the political economy of tea reveals that this quintessential commodity of eighteenth-century commerce has a great deal to tell us about the relationship between consumer desire, imperial rule, and revolution. Impressively researched and elegantly argued, The Trouble with Tea uses a global framework to investigate how the trade and consumption of tea first united and then divided the British Empire, and how these same forces later led restive Tea Partiers to become nation-building taxpayers. You might think you know where to find tea in the history of America and Britain; this book is here to show you that you need to far deeper than the bottom of Boston's harbor to get the full story. -- Dael A. Norwood, Binghamton University While tea has long been a symbol of the American Revolution, The Trouble with Tea situates the commodity within broader economic and cultural contexts, persuasively demonstrating its role in the expansion of imperial trade and creation of complex consumer rituals long before and after 1776. -- Michelle Craig McDonald, Stockton University

About the Author

Jane T. Merritt is an associate professor of history at Old Dominion University. She is the author of At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763.

Reviews

Jane T. Merritt provides a compelling analysis of the economic, social, and political consequences of tea consumption in the American colonies during the eighteenth century.

* Economic History Review *

This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the powerful global context of the American Revolution and of late-eighteenthcentury American commercial ambitions and achievements.

* American Historical Review *

Students at all levels utilising this text will value the appended detailed essay on both primary and secondary sources in addition to the detailed end-notes.

* Historical Association *

Merritt's book on tea takes a distinguished place in a growing list of formidable studies of colonial commodities whose histories have global importance: cod, cotton, madeira, mahogany, rum, salt, sugar, and who knows what next.

* Journal of American History *

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