Toward a More Perfect Union: Virtue and the Formation of American Republics

By: Ann Fairfax Withington

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ISBN
9780195361735
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eBook
 
 

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In October of 1774, Congress passed a moral code which banned the theater, cock-fights, and horse races. In abiding by this code, Americans built for themselves a character as a virtuous people which set them apart from the "corrupt" British, prepared them to declare independence, and gave them the confidence to establish republican governments. This book uses the specific moral code of Congress as a springboard into the issues generated by the constitutional crisis that precipitated the American Revolution. Withington argues that the moral program, grounded in popular culture, worked as a political strategy to involve people emotionally in the cause and to broaden the reach of resistance to include all classes and both genders. Withington's integration of political history with the materials of popular culture, including cocker manuals, mortuary paraphernalia, prints, caricatures, anagrams, bawdy comedies and sentimental tragedies, and last speeches of condemned criminals leads the reader into a deeper understanding of the formation and significance of the revolutionary ideology
ISBN:
9780195361735
Publication Date:
11 / 11 / 1991

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