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Archaeology of Identity and DissonanceContexts for a Brave New World$
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Diane F. George  and Bernice Kurchin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056197

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056197.001.0001

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date: 21 February 2020

“Sacred to the Memory of Washington”

“Sacred to the Memory of Washington”

National Identity Formation in Post-Revolutionary New York City

Chapter:
(p.251) 12 “Sacred to the Memory of Washington”
Source:
Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance
Author(s):

Diane F. George

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813056197.003.0012

This chapter begins with the exceptionalism that pervades American discourse in the twenty-first century. Proceeding from the unsettled place produced by present-day extremes of nationalism, the author traces the roots of American exceptionalism to the post-Revolutionary period and to the efforts of the upper classes to form a national identity that would unify a fragmented country while maintaining their social position. Two ceramic items from an elite merchant household—a British transferprint plate commemorating the death of Washington and a Chinese porcelain saucer displaying an American-style eagle—are the subjects of this microscalar analysis of national identity production in New York City’s South Street Seaport after the war.

Keywords:   National identity, New York City, American exceptionalism

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