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

2.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 ideologyshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 140.5 x 209.8 x 23.6mm | 403.09g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0195101308
  • 9780195101300

Back cover copy

A wonderful book, exploiting materials and problems rarely considered in the same frame as the the origins of the revolution. An exuberant romp through known and unknown corridors of eighteenth-century culture and politics, this book will entertain and challenge all historians of revolutionary America.'show more

Review quote

A convincing account, written 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 * 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 * This is a wonderful book, exploiting materials and problems rarely considered in the same frame as the origins of the revolution....An exuberant romp through known and unknown corridors of eighteenth-century culture and politics, this book will entertain and challenge all historians of Revolutionary America. * American Historical Review * A convincing account, written 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 *show more

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