This research project focuses on five major developments that were taking place in America from 1886 to 1917 that are both influenced and reflected the history of Coca-Cola. These five issues constitute individual case studies in which I examine how Coca-Cola was directly affected by the culture in which it was created: urbanization of America; changing loci of social exchange within American society; shifting patterns in commercialism and advertising; industrial production and technology; and temperance efforts and early prohibition movements. In the half century following the Civil War, the United States became an increasingly urban, busy, and noisy nation creating a loud yet anxious society. Commercialism and advertising which was a result from mass production of products, as did with a demand for better technology and production skills. Early temperance efforts from the south caused a demand for new outlets for much of society. In an era of “snake oil” salesman and unregulated drug production and marketing, Coca-Cola emerged from its “nerve tonic” roots to transform America as the nation’s first and foremost national and international consumer product brand.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2015


David Coleman

Mentor Department Affiliation


Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences