Abstract

Abstract:

A “Coloured Fancy Ball” held in Philadelphia in February 1828 served as a site not only of social aspiration and political concern but also of violence and satire. This article explores the nature, reportage, ramifications, and outcomes of that dance gathering. Study of the ball’s contexts— social, racial, political, economic, and aesthetic—reveals the varied meanings it held for different parties concerned with this event. This investigation further illuminates ways that sociality, behavior, and aspiration were subjects of national contest as the new United States, exemplified here by its leading revolutionary city, Philadelphia, struggled to determine who and what could be called “American.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
2169-8546
Print ISSN
0031-4587
Pages
pp. 147-178
Launched on MUSE
2020-05-28
Open Access
No
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