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American EnchantmentRituals of the People in the Post-Revolutionary World$
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Michelle Sizemore

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190627539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190627539.001.0001

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George Washington vs. The Phantom

George Washington vs. The Phantom

Rival Sovereigns and Long Eighteenth-Century Insurrection

(p.43) 2 George Washington vs. The Phantom
American Enchantment

Michelle Sizemore

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines two competing forms of sovereign representation against the backdrop of the Whiskey Rebellion. In the new federal republic, George Washington served as a unifying symbol of the people in the centuries-long tradition of the monarch, but the very rituals of Washington’s office and also those of the rebels, such as tar-and-feathering, call attention to the first president’s limitations as symbol of the body politic. Rather than a static substance, the people are a protean force, a circumstance that prompts new forms of representation in Mason Locke Weems’s Life of Washington (1800), Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s Modern Chivalry (1797), and other works.

Keywords:   George Washington, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Mason Locke Weems, tar-and-feathering, Whiskey Rebellion

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