Beyond the Founders
New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The editors would like to thank those who facilitated and contributed to the several conference sessions that went into the development of this volume, especially Marion Nelson Winship, Andy Burstein, John Murrin, Jack Rakove, Peter Onuf, Jim Banner, and Joanne Freeman. ...
Introduction: Beyond the Founders
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The dawn of the twenty-first century has turned out to be a flush time for the founding fathers. Pundits celebrated their appearance on the best-seller lists, cited them as a tonic for contemporary disillusionment with politics, and got to work writing biographies themselves. ...
Part I.: Democracy and Other Practices
1. The Cheese and the Words: Popular Political Culture and Participatory Democracy in the Early American Republic
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President Thomas Jefferson and his guests rang in the new year of 1802 as many later generations of Americans would celebrate New Years’ Day, by consuming some snacks and watching a spectacle. In this case, however, the snack was the spectacle: the long-awaited ‘‘Mammoth Cheese’’ from Cheshire, Massachusetts, four feet in diameter, eighteen inches tall, ...
2. Voting Rites and Voting Acts: Electioneering Ritual, 1790–1820
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One of the benefits of recent scholarship in the early republic has been a more profound understanding of political celebrations and festivals. With the exception of Alan Taylor and David Waldstreicher, and, in a later period, Mary Ryan and Jean Baker, historians have not paid explicit attention to electioneering rituals themselves.1 ...
3. Why Thomas Jefferson and African Americans Wore Their Politics on Their Sleeves: Dress and Mobilization between American Revolutions
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‘‘As long as we are dependent upon Great Britain for our clothing and other necessities, we must be influenced by her baneful politics,’’ wrote George Logan to President-elect Thomas Jefferson on the eve of his inauguration.1 Hamiltonian commerce versus Jeffersonian self-sufficiency, Old World corruption versus New World independence: these were familiar gestures by 1801. ...
Part II: Gender, Race, and Other Identities
4. Women and Party Conflict in the Early Republic
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The political history of the early republic has traditionally been written as the story of great white males. It is, of course, a tale well worth telling. Commanding figures such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams seized the moment of the nation’s founding and forged the institutions and ideas ...
5. The ‘‘Little Emperor’’: Aaron Burr, Dandyism, and the Sexual Politics of Treason
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Lord Byron, as the story goes, identified three nineteenth-century men as truly great. Showing supreme humility, the poet placed himself third on the list, Napoleon Bonaparte second, and he humorously selected ‘‘Beau’’ Brummell, the cultural progenitor of the dandy, for the honored title of greatest man.1 ...
6. Young Federalists, Masculinity, and Partisanship during the War of 1812
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Until recently political historians of the early republic have paid little attention to the deeply gendered nature of male political socialization and the crucial role of gender in shaping the development of partisan politics. In this they have followed the biases of their sources, most of which were generated by male public figures ...
7. Protest in Black and White: The Formation and Transformation of an African American Political Community during the Early Republic
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Politics has been defined as the art of the possible. For early black activists, politics had the nearly opposite meaning—the art of the impossible. While free blacks certainly voted in northern elections during the early national period, and while many early state constitutions (New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania) did not initially differentiate between black and white rights, ...
Part III: Norms and Forms
8. Consent, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere in the Age of Revolution and the Early American Republic
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While historians instinctively avoid theory, we necessarily attempt an exploration where imagination, fact, and theory all come to bear, as we attempt to visualize the spaces in which our historical subjects engaged with one another. Over the past decade, a new understanding of public space has begun to provide a more precise structure and coherence to that difficult visualization. ...
9. Beyond the Myth of Consensus: The Struggle to Define the Right to Bear Arms in the Early Republic
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The political history of the early republic has undergone an impressive renaissance in recent years. One of the distinguishing features of this newest version of a ‘‘new political history’’ has been the way it has self-consciously shifted its focus away from the elite world of the founders. The impact of the new scholarship has profoundly altered the intellectual landscape of early American history. ...
10. The Federalists’ Transatlantic Cultural Offensive of 1798 and the Moderation of American Democratic Discourse
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In late 1798 two radically different publications—Britain’s arch-conservative Anti-Jacobin Review and Boston’s staunchly democratic and pro-French Independent Chronicle—found some rare interpretive common ground. In the opening article of its first edition, the Anti-Jacobin Review commented favorably on the American activities of Federalist printer and writer William Cobbett, ...
Part IV: Interests, Spaces, and Other Structures
11. Continental Politics: Liberalism, Nationalism, and the Appeal of Texas in the 1820s
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In the 1820s, Texas attracted the attention of citizens of the United States, Mexico, and the Cherokee Nation interested in improving the quality of their lives. We tend to think of these people as settlers rather than émigrés and to assume that they went to Texas to replicate rather than revise familiar worlds. ...
12. Private Enterprise, Public Good?: Communications Deregulation as a National Political Issue, 1839–1851
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In June 1847, Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury delivered a remarkable paean to the regulatory powers of the federal government. ‘‘To dream,’’ Woodbury declared, that the Post Office Department might be supplanted by ‘‘individual enterprise’’ was to ‘‘dream as wildly as in the tales of the Arabian Nights.’’ ...
13. Popular Movements and Party Rule: The New York Anti-Rent Wars and the Jacksonian Political Order
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When he arrived in Sand Lake, a village in the foothills of the Tagkhanic mountains just east of Albany, Governor William Bouck felt a shock of dismay and anger. A crowd was waiting for him. Brightly colored banners and transparencies filled the village square with strange icons, pictures of Indians, and mottoes like ‘‘Down with the Rent’’ and ‘‘The Land is Mine, Sayeth the Lord.’’ ...
14. Commentary: Déjà Vu All Over Again: Is There a New New Political History?
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Since the 1980s, American political historians have been bemoaning their fall from grace.1 Can the soul of American political history be saved? Is it possible to reconcile the tendencies within a profession that seems to focus entirely on race, class, and gender with the formerly important study of ordinary politics associated with the formal political system of elections, legislation, and administration? ...
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John L. Brooke, Humanities Distinguished Professor of History at the Ohio State University, is completing a manuscript entitled ‘‘Columbia: Civil Life in the World of Martin Van Buren’s Emergence, 1776–1821.’’ ...
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Page Count: 448
Illustrations: 7 illus., 4 figs.
Publication Year: 2004