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

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byAnn Fairfax Withington

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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 gavethem 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

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From Our Editors

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.'

From the Publisher

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 gavethem the confidence to establish republican gov...

Ann Fairfax Withington is at State University of New York at Albany.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.19 × 5.24 × 0.83 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195101308

ISBN - 13:9780195101300

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From Our Editors

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.'

Editorial Reviews

"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