Memory of '76: The Revolution in American History

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Memory of '76: The Revolution in American History
The surprising history of how Americans have fought over the meaning and legacy of the Revolution for nearly two and a half centuries

Americans agree that their nation's origins lie in the Revolution, but they have never agreed on what the Revolution meant. For nearly two hundred and fifty years, politicians, political parties, social movements, and a diverse array of ordinary Americans have constantly reimagined the Revolution to fit the times and suit their own agendas.

In this sweeping take on American history, Michael D. Hattem reveals how conflicts over the meaning and legacy of the Revolution--including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution--have influenced the most important events and tumultuous periods in the nation's history; how African Americans, women, and other oppressed groups have shaped the popular memory of the Revolution; and how much of our contemporary memory of the Revolution is a product of the Cold War.

By exploring the Revolution's unique role in American history as a national origin myth, Hattem shows how the meaning of the Revolution has never been fixed, how remembering the nation's founding has often done far more to divide Americans than to unite them, and how revising the past is an important and long-standing American political tradition.

Publication Date: 
July 23, 2024