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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 Florida Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056197.001.0001

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“Sacred to the Memory of Washington”

“Sacred to the Memory of Washington”

National Identity Formation in Post-Revolutionary New York City

(p.251) 12 “Sacred to the Memory of Washington”
Archaeology of Identity and Dissonance

Diane F. George

University Press of Florida

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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