Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, Mar 1, 1999 - History - 288 pages
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Public rituals have always held a vital place in American culture. By far the noisiest and most popular of these to emerge in the nation's early years was Independence Day. After a decade of fitful starts, the Fourth of July eclipsed local and regional patriotic observances to become the premier "American Jubilee." Celebrating the Fourth provides a history of this holiday and explores its role in shaping a national identity and consciousness in three cities - Boston, Charleston, and Philadelphia - during the first fifty years of the American republic. Independence Day celebrations justified, validated, and helped maintain nationalism among people unused to offering political allegiance beyond their own state borders. As the observances became increasingly popular and symbolically important, political partisans competed hotly for the right to control the meaning of the festivals.
  

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Contents

Excellent Political Moves
15
Spiritual Blood
31
A Partisan Holiday
69
Observing the Fourth
107
Even to Blood
155
Making Over the Fourth
191
Jubilee
218
Notes
229
Bibliography
263
Index
273
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Page 1 - The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts, themselves ensembles which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong.

About the author (1999)

LEN TRAVERS is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is the author of Celebrating the Fourth: Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic (1997) and "The Paradox of 'Nationalist' Festivals: The Case of Palmetto Day in Antebellum Charleston," in William Pencak, et al, eds., Riot and Revelry in Early America.

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