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Download Toward a More Perfect Union: Virtue and the Formation of by Ann Fairfax Withington PDF

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By Ann Fairfax Withington

In October of 1774, Congress handed an ethical code which banned the theater, cock-fights, and horse races. In abiding through this code, americans equipped for themselves a personality as a virtuous humans which set them except the "corrupt" British, ready them to claim independence, and gave them the arrogance to set up republican governments. This e-book makes use of the explicit ethical code of Congress as a springboard into the problems generated by way of the constitutional quandary that brought about the yank Revolution. Withington argues that the ethical application, grounded in pop culture, labored as a political technique to contain humans emotionally within the reason and to increase the succeed in of resistance to incorporate all sessions and either genders. Withington's integration of political heritage with the fabrics of pop culture, together with cocker manuals, mortuary paraphernalia, prints, caricatures, anagrams, bawdy comedies and mawkish tragedies, and final speeches of condemned criminals leads the reader right into a deeper figuring out of the formation and value of the progressive ideology

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

In October of 1774, Congress handed an ethical code which banned the theater, cock-fights, and horse races. In abiding by way of this code, american citizens equipped for themselves a personality as a virtuous humans which set them except the "corrupt" British, ready them to claim independence, and gave them the boldness to set up republican governments.

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New-York Journal, "Thrifty," 21 January 1768. 13. New-York Journal, 7 January 1768. 26 Toward a More Perfect Union from the plays themselves. The rich clothes and gaudy finery of the actors set high and expensive sartorial standards and worked the spectators into such an acquisitive fever that they would rush the next day to the tailors, dressmakers, or haberdashers. Their thoughts, having been diverted to fashion, would no longer dwell on the needs of the deserving poor, and charity would wither as private vanity dissipated public spirit.

The various activities that Congress proscribed were connected to each other in a network of values. A particular activity could engender hostility for different reasons. For example, the theater, it was argued, exposed people to hypocrisy, blasphemy, and sexual profligacy, and also encouraged extravagance and idleness. Or a particular value could account for hostility toward several activities. A belief in thrift would lead people to oppose gambling (cockfighting, horseracing, cards and dice) and excessive dress.

Not a lovely crew. " Antagonists of the theater feared that these far-from-wholesome plays were undermining the institution of marriage in the colonies. One went so far as to claim that having a theater company in town led to a decline in the marriage rate, that index of die moral and economic health of a society. "The judicious Montesquieu observes, that the sure sign of a place thriving is frequent marriages, formerly the people here married young, for they could easily support a family; is this now the case?

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