Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors

Paperback | February 26, 2014

byBenjamin H. Irvin

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In 1776, when the Continental Congress declared independence, formally severing relations with Great Britain, it immediately began to fashion new objects and ceremonies of state with which to proclaim the sovereignty of the infant republic. In this marvelous social and cultural history of the Continental Congress, Benjamin H. Irvin describes this struggle to create a national identity during the American Revolution. The book examines the material artifacts, rituals, and festivities by which Congress endeavored not only to assert itspolitical legitimacy and to bolster the war effort, but ultimately to exalt the United States and to win the allegiance of its inhabitants. Congress, for example, crafted an emblematic great seal, celebrated anniversaries of U.S. independence, and implemented august diplomatic protocols for thereception of foreign ministers. Yet as Irvin demonstrates, Congress could not impose its creations upon a passive American public. To the contrary, "the people out of doors" - broadly defined to include not only the working poor who rallied in the streets of Philadelphia, but all personsunrepresented in the Continental Congress, including women, loyalists, and Native Americans - vigorously contested Congress's trappings of nationhood.Vividly narrating the progress of the Revolution in Philadelphia and the lived experiences of its inhabitants during the tumultuous war, Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty sharpens our understanding of the relationship between political elites and crowds of workaday protestors as it illuminates theways in which ideologies of gender, class, and race shaped the civic identity of the Revolutionary United States.

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In 1776, when the Continental Congress declared independence, formally severing relations with Great Britain, it immediately began to fashion new objects and ceremonies of state with which to proclaim the sovereignty of the infant republic. In this marvelous social and cultural history of the Continental Congress, Benjamin H. Irvin de...

Benjamin H. Irvin is Associate Professor of History at the University of Arizona and author of Samuel Adams: Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution.

other books by Benjamin H. Irvin

Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors
Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congre...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 26, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199314594

ISBN - 13:9780199314591

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Table of Contents

Introduction: To "stamp the Character of the People"Part I: A "steady, manly, uniform, and persevering opposition"1. The Republicans' New Clothes2. The Continental Congress UnmannedPart II: The Outcome Is in Doubt3. "[A]n Impression upon the Mind"4. The Pride and Pomp of WarPart III: E Pluribus Unum5. "The spirits of the whigs must be kept up"6. "[U]ncommon and Extraordinary Movements"Part IV: "The Symbol of supreme Power and Authority"7. "[T]he most amiable Garbs of publick Virtue"8. Naked and UnadornedConclusion: "[T]he Sign of the Thirteen Starrs"AbbreviationsNotesIndex