In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this revelatory and genuinely groundbreaking study, François Furstenberg sheds new light on the genesis of American identity. Immersing us in the publishing culture of the early nineteenth century, he shows us how the words of George Washington and others of his generation became America's sacred scripture and provided the foundation for a new civic culture?one whose reconciliation with slavery unleashed consequences that haunt us still. A dazzling work of scholarship from a brilliant young historian, In the ...
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In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation

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Overview

In this revelatory and genuinely groundbreaking study, François Furstenberg sheds new light on the genesis of American identity. Immersing us in the publishing culture of the early nineteenth century, he shows us how the words of George Washington and others of his generation became America's sacred scripture and provided the foundation for a new civic culture?one whose reconciliation with slavery unleashed consequences that haunt us still. A dazzling work of scholarship from a brilliant young historian, In the Name of the Father is a major contribution to American social history.


RunTime: 10 hrs, 8 CDs. A revelatory study of how Americans were bound together as a young nation by the words, the image, and the myth of George Washington and how slavery shaped American nationalism in ways that define and haunt us still.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
How were the ideals that were articulated in America's founding documents-freedom, democracy and government based on the consent of the governed-disseminated to the nation? That question animates this extraordinary new study by Furstenberg, an assistant professor of history at the Universit de Montreal, which shows how popular print-broadsides, newspaper columns, schoolbooks, sermons-taught citizens "liberal and republican values," and ultimately "create[d] a nation." Thus Furstenberg devotes a chapter to Mason Weems's bestselling early biography of Washington: in addition to originating the famous cheery tree story, Weems taught a generation of Americans subtle stories about nationalism, virtue and piety. Indeed, Washington-or, rather, images of Washington-became central to American political education. In reading Washington's farewell address aloud to the family when it was reprinted, year after year, in the local newspaper, or in hanging his portrait on the dining room wall, Americans were expressing their consent to be governed by the government Washington presided over. In the deluge of founding father books, Furstenberg's blend of high-brow intellectual history and popular culture studies stands out; rather than lionize Washington, it advances an important argument about his role in shaping American political identity. B&w illus. (June 26) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Furstenberg (history, Universit de Montr al) has written a scholarly work on the development of the American national spirit, detailing how print culture-almanacs, newspapers, and books-created an "American mind" in the 50 years following the end of the Revolutionary War and how the national spirit, so fostered, later responded to the problem of slavery. Furstenberg spends much time on the biographical material published by "Parson" Mason Locke Weems, the man behind the George Washington cherry tree legend, and assesses Weems's contribution to the general folklore surrounding Washington. He discusses the ambivalence of some of the Founding Fathers, particularly Washington, toward slavery. He then goes on to examine Abraham Lincoln as the person who proved most able to reshape much of the American national spirit into one positioned against slavery and assesses how the media we know today are still serving to create our own heroes. With an extensive bibliography and notes; suitable for academic and large public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/06.]-Karen Sutherland, Bartlett P.L., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Furstenberg (history, Univ. of Montreal) presents a provocative view of the cult of the Founding Fathers, centered on the first President and father of the country, George Washington. In particular, the author concentrates on the issue of slavery: How did a nation whose intellectual premises involve the "consent of the governed" allow itself to tolerate slavery as long as it did, from 1776 to the Civil War, 1860-64? One answer, which Furstenberg belabors relentlessly, is that the popular media and culture of the time elaborated upon the idea of the Founding "Fathers" to create the paternalistic idea that citizens should be like grateful children moving in lockstep with the supposed expectations of the kindly and protective daddy. As a rationale supporting slavery, popular culture-the endless newspaper reprinting of Washington's "Farewell Address," artists' conceptions of his extended plantation family with him in the center blessing them all, illustrated plates and mugs, and short and long biographies and schoolbook entries-showed Washington as beloved by his wife and servants and slaves. Narrator Michael Prichard has made a name for himself among audiobook aficionados by reading the corpus of Nero Wolfeand the Dirk Pitt adventures, but here his reading is fairly flat. His voice is not well suited to a meandering history without dramatic movement. Nevertheless, this is an appropriate selection for American history collections in academic and public libraries.
—Don Wismer

From the Publisher
"Michael Prichard...reads with an almost patrician confidence and the authority of someone who is intimately acquainted with his subject. His resonant voice leaves us wanting more." —-AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101651049
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 904,878
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

François Furstenberg was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and Washington. After graduating with a BA from Columbia University, he worked for several years in Paris before pursuing his graduate studies in history at The Johns Hopkins University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2003. He was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. history at Cambridge University, England, for one year, after which he moved to Montreal, Canada, where he is an assistant professor of history at the Université de Montréal.
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Table of Contents

1 The apotheosis of George Washington 25
2 Washington's family : slavery and the nation 71
3 Mason Locke Weems : spreading the American gospel 105
4 Civic texts for slave and free : inventing the autonomous American 147
5 Slavery and the American individual 187
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