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Be a Patriot, Buy a Home: Re-Imagining Home Owners and Home Ownership in Early 20th Century Atlanta

LeeAnn Lands
Journal of Social History
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Summer, 2008), pp. 943-965
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25096563
Page Count: 23
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Be a Patriot, Buy a Home: Re-Imagining Home Owners and Home Ownership in Early 20th Century Atlanta
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Abstract

The Own Your Own Home campaigns launched by the federal government and private land dealers immediately after World War I lured Atlanta builders and real estate agents into the trajectory toward homeownership ideology. Rhetoric mobilized by state and private interests associated ownership with socially valued institutions, such as family, or other subjectivities, such as masculinity. Brokers and state interests enticed individuals into assuming the risk of (significant) debt-into participating in this system of predictability and order-by giving homeowners status within American society. In advertisements, speeches, expositions, and other practices, federal policymakers and private real estate interests positioned homeowners as patriots and citizens. Homeowners were painted as good family protectors and providers. They were labeled prudent and reliable. The association of homeownership with an individual's thrift and constancy led to associations of homeownership with job stability and adulthood. Thus, young Americans came to view homeownership as part of life's stages-and expectations. As homeownership became part of the American culture and life cycle, it became less necessary to persuade citizens that a relationship existed between homeownership and status or particular values.

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