In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820 / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 73%)
Est. Return Date: 07/22/2015
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $5.41
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 83%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $5.41   
  • New (7) from $28.35   
  • Used (16) from $5.41   


In this innovative study, David Waldstreicher investigates the importance of political festivals in the early American republic. Drawing on newspapers, broadsides, diaries, and letters, he shows how patriotic celebrations and their reproduction in a rapidly expanding print culture helped connect local politics to national identity. Waldstreicher reveals how Americans worked out their political differences in creating a festive calendar. Using the Fourth of July as a model, members of different political parties and social movements invented new holidays celebrating such events as the ratification of the Constitution, Washington's birthday, Jefferson's inauguration, and the end of the slave trade. They used these politicized rituals, he argues, to build constituencies and to make political arguments on a national scale. While these celebrations enabled nonvoters to participate intimately in the political process and helped dissenters forge effective means of protest, they had their limits as vehicles of democratization or modes of citizenship, Waldstreicher says. Exploring the interplay of region, race, class, and gender in the development of a national identity, he demonstrates that an acknowledgment of the diversity and conflict inherent in the process is crucial to any understanding of American politics and culture.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A highly original work of political history.

William and Mary Quarterly

A very readable, extremely competent, thought provoking book.

American Studies

Waldstreicher combines cultural theory with fresh research, graceful writing, and a defined subject matter.

American Studies

A book that demands the attention of specialists in the early American republic, and of social and cultural historians.

Journal of Social History

[I]t sets the agenda and the standard for future work on American nationalism and political culture.

Journal of American History

Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

David Waldstreicher is professor of history at Temple University.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Practices of Nationalism

PART ONE: Revolution, Nation, State
1. The Revolutionary Politics of Celebration
Ancient Rites
Festivity and the Origins of American Politics
Celebrating the American Future
2. The Constitution of Federal Feeling
The Crisis of Virtue and the Virtues of "Crisis"
Celebrating Natural Aristocracy: From Virtue to Sensibility
Inventing Federalist America
3. National Characters
George Washington's Sentimental Journeys
"I Live Here in the Midst of Perpetual Fetes"
National Character: Ideology, Theology, Practice

PART TWO: Elections, Sections, and Races
4. The Celebration of Politics
1800: A Different Kind of Revolution
Nationalism as Partisan Antipartisanship
Celebratory Politics as the Early Republic's Public Sphere
5. Regionalism, Nationalism, and the Geopolitics of Celebration
New England as America
America Going South
West Meets East
6. Mixed Feelings: Race and Nation
Nothing But Union
"Declaration of Independence! Where art thou now?"
"The Africans and their descendants, will celebrate . . ."
Epilogue: "You May Celebrate, I Must Mourn"

1. The Repeal
2. Epitaph
3. The Continental Almanac
4. Federal Pillars, March 1788
5. Federal Pillars, August 1788
6. Reception of Washington at Trenton
7. Proclamation for a Federal Thanksgiving
8. Abraham Bishop
9. The Jeffersoniad
10. Black Cockade Funeral
11. Toasts, for Fourth July 1804
12. Governor Hancock's Ball
13. A Peep into the Antifederal Club
14. Hunters of Kentucky
15. The Battle of Plattsburg
16. Bobalition Broadside, 1816
17. Bobalition Broadside, 1822
18. Reply to Bobalition Broadside, 1819

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2003


    While the author obviously spent (too much?) time in the archives, when it came to sitting down and writing the book he could not resist engaging in what is now literally an all-too-common academic exercise: making what should have been a straightforward cultural tale into a jargon-laden, convoluted tome that lacks clarity. Instead of tortured sentence construction and the employment of a host of academic buzzwords, Waldstreicher should have just said what he had to say! He didn't (not uncommon in his profession) and thus this book, consequently inaccessible, is anything but lucid.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)