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Hirelings: African American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland by Jennifer Hull Dorsey (review)

Hirelings: African American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland by Jennifer Hull Dorsey... JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Summer 2013) Throughout, as we wait for Americans to wake up to their preservationist obligations (Chapter 6), Chambers's narrative assumes a subtly prescriptive tone. Should Americans in the early republic have treated their historic battlegrounds differently? The author, in this case, might have explained better what memory obscured--and why--and what it purposefully recalled. Implicitly normalized here is the peculiar veneration of battlefields in the wake of the Civil War, fueled by that war's unprecedented death and destruction, as well as the pernicious politics of ``the bloody shirt,'' the Lost Cause, and the rites of national reconciliation, which abandoned the cause of equality and civil rights for generations. Memories of War paints the previous era as peculiar--an anachronism based on its postbellum referent. The public memory of the early republic assumed different forms, as Chambers's evidence actually documents: It was less oriented to historic landscapes, less committed to historical preservation, more textual, and less supportive of monument construction. In fact, portable historical objects--sometimes called ``relics'' by contemporaries--seem to have been more critical in the construction of historical meaning, memory, and identity than the scarred landscapes from which they were collected, and which Americans seemed http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the Early Republic University of Pennsylvania Press

Hirelings: African American Workers and Free Labor in Early Maryland by Jennifer Hull Dorsey (review)

Journal of the Early Republic , Volume 33 (2) – Apr 17, 2013

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.
ISSN
1553-0620
Publisher site
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Abstract

JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Summer 2013) Throughout, as we wait for Americans to wake up to their preservationist obligations (Chapter 6), Chambers's narrative assumes a subtly prescriptive tone. Should Americans in the early republic have treated their historic battlegrounds differently? The author, in this case, might have explained better what memory obscured--and why--and what it purposefully recalled. Implicitly normalized here is the peculiar veneration of battlefields in the wake of the Civil War, fueled by that war's unprecedented death and destruction, as well as the pernicious politics of ``the bloody shirt,'' the Lost Cause, and the rites of national reconciliation, which abandoned the cause of equality and civil rights for generations. Memories of War paints the previous era as peculiar--an anachronism based on its postbellum referent. The public memory of the early republic assumed different forms, as Chambers's evidence actually documents: It was less oriented to historic landscapes, less committed to historical preservation, more textual, and less supportive of monument construction. In fact, portable historical objects--sometimes called ``relics'' by contemporaries--seem to have been more critical in the construction of historical meaning, memory, and identity than the scarred landscapes from which they were collected, and which Americans seemed

Journal

Journal of the Early RepublicUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 17, 2013

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