Toward a More Perfect Union

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

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On the way toward declaring independence, Americans saw themselves as a separate people in the process of birth. In 1774, the First Continental Congress drew up a highly specific code of behaviour banning cock-fighting, horse-racing , and theatre. Public executions took the place of drama, and strict regulations were placed on funerals . Withington argues that Congress banned these activities because they were viewed as posing a threat to the values needed in order to make resistance to Britain successful. The book is a brilliant example of cultural history, using activities like gambling and theatre to illuminate the popular attitudes and government policy that contributed to the move toward Independence.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 282 pages
  • 147.8 x 217.9 x 27.4mm | 477.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 18 pp halftones
  • 0195068351
  • 9780195068351

Review quote

This book happens to be a particularly bright and imaginative exemplar of that genre which repays a careful reading with many original and important insights into our revolutionary past. * Journal of Interdisciplinary History * Withington's book is imaginative and carefully argued and makes a major contribution to the ongoing debate over the meaning of American republicanism. * The Historian * Original and deeply interesting....I like this study very much. It is an important book and well-researched. It will add luster to any publisher's list. * Robert Middlekauff, University of California, Berkeley * An important and readable book by a gifted author. * Choice * A convincing account, writen with unusual wit and style, of the manner in which colonial American self-righteousness and self-denials contributed to a change of sensibility that prepared the way for Independence. * William & Mary Quarterly *
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Back cover copy

Toward a More Perfect Union uses this 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.
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Rating details

4 ratings
3 out of 5 stars
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3 25% (1)
2 50% (2)
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