Synopses & Reviews
"The world of the Founding Fathers was also a postrevolutionary society, in whose streets people of all social classes jostled in festivals and parades that expressed a vibrant popular politics. Simon Newman's book is as lively as the tumultuous political culture he has mapped."--Linda K. Kerber, author of
Simon P. Newman vividly evokes the celebrations of America's first national holidays in the years between the ratification of the Constitution and the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson. He demonstrates how, by taking part in the festive culture of the streets, ordinary American men and women were able to play a significant role in forging the political culture of the young nation. The creation of many of the patriotic holidays we still celebrate coincided with the emergence of the first two-party system. With the political songs they sang, the liberty poles they raised, and the partisan badges they wore, Americans of many walks of life helped shape a new national politics destined to replace the regional practices of the colonial era.
In the last decade of the 18th century, American society witnessed huge numbers of parades, feasts, and festivals that celebrated, supported, and (sometimes) criticized the public figures and policies of the day. These events were eagerly reported by the newspapers of the day. Newman (history, U. of