Series Title: Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American Histo
Publisher: Omohundro Institute and University of North Carolina Press
Author: David Waldstreicher
Street Date: November 24, 1997
Item Number (DPCI): 247-15-9607
David Waldstreicher's In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes probes the practices of nationalism in a country made up of inherent and evolving divisions. His question is simple: How did national celebrations work as political strategy and as unifying event? Pursuing this inquiry, Waldstreicher offers a series of rich explorations into the dynamics of festivities that celebrated - or mourned - events and characters in the early republic. Using an innovative methodology and a sophisticated theoretical framework, Waldstreicher uncovers the processes that generated a profusion of patriotic sentiment. While celebrations like those for the Constitution, the Fourth of July, Washington's birthday, Jefferson's inauguration, and the end of the slave trade enabled nonvoters to participate intimately in the political process, they also provided ways to keep women and blacks in prescribed, noncitizen roles, even as members of both groups began to use celebrations for their own ends. Through a careful analysis of printed materials - newspapers, broadsides, toasts, orations, and ballads, - in relation to nationalist practices, Waldstreicher traces the emergence of an American political culture formed around a desired unity of purpose.