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By Paul Downes

Paul Downes bargains a thorough revision of a few of the main loved components of early American cultural identification. The founding texts and writers of the Republic, he claims, didn't entirely displace what they claimed to oppose. in its place, Downes argues, the full building of a Republican public sphere truly borrowed and tailored critical positive factors of Monarchical rule. Downes discovers this topic not just in a variety of American novels, but additionally in readings of quite a few political files that created the philosophical tradition of the yankee progressive interval.

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Extra resources for Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature

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The American revolutionaries “metaphorically” killed their king, we are reminded, and for this reason, perhaps, their revolution would always be lacking. One of the earliest and most scandalous expressions of American anti-monarchism was delivered by Patrick Henry in the form of a famously elliptical warning in the Virginia House of Burgesses in : “Tarquin and Caesar each had his Brutus,” said Henry, “ – Charles the First his Cromwell and – George the Third . . may profit by their example” (quoted in Fliegelman, Declaring Independence, ).

To allow for the possibility of something absolutely new taking place in history, for the possibility of a radical beginning, would be to open up the gates of atheism. Eight years after the end of the War of Independence, John Adams registered discomfort with precisely this element of the revolutionary times he was living through. ” He continues: Is there a possibility that the government of nations may fall into the hands of men who teach the most disconsolate of creeds, that men are but fireflies and that this all is without a father?

The pamphlet came out in January of  in Philadelphia where the Second Continental Congress sat divided over the issue of independence. On the very day it was published a copy arrived in Philadelphia of King George III’s speech to parliament in which he declared that the “rebellious war” in the colonies was “manifestly carried on for the purpose of establishing an independent empire” (quoted in Kramnick, “Introduction,” ).  Introduction: the spell of democracy  But a sense of immediacy and of the importance of the moment – the revolutionary “now” – is also apparent within the language of Paine’s pamphlet itself.

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