Here is my thesis paper for REL 201: Senior Seminar in Religion, from the University of Vermont.
ABSTRACT: America, due to its founding Protestant base, has inherited Protestant moral ethics that inform our consumerism, regardless of explicit religious upbringing of the consumer or perceived secular nature of the advertiser. To illustrate this point, I examine the American diet reform of the mid-19th to early-20th century, specifically focusing on the efforts of Sylvester Graham, Ellen G. White, J.H. Kellogg, and C.W. Post. I then connect these reformers to the modern-day food reform going on in this country, and question the moral imperatives that bridge the two eras. Throughout the paper I utilize Max Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism to form a foundation of what is considered Protestant ethics in the United States.