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Enemyship: Democracy and Counter-Revolution in the Early Republic

Jeremy Engels
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The Declaration of Independence is usually celebrated as a radical document that inspired revolution in the English colonies, in France, and elsewhere. InEnemyship, however, Jeremy Engels views the Declaration as a rhetorical strategy that outlined wildly effective arguments justifying revolution against a colonial authority-and then threatened political stability once independence was finally achieved.Enemyshipexamines what happened during the latter years of the Revolutionary War and in the immediate post-Revolutionary period, when the rhetorics and energies of revolution began to seem problematic to many wealthy and powerful Americans.To mitigate this threat, says Engles, the founders of the United States deployed the rhetorics of what he calls "enemyship," calling upon Americans to unite in opposition to their shared national enemies.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-210-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: The Second American Revolution
    (pp. 1-32)

    The date was April 13, 1943—the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth. The place was Washington, DC. The occasion was the dedication of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. “Today in the midst of a great war for freedom we dedicate a shrine to freedom,” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed, using Jefferson’s memory to bridge the chasm between the American Revolution and World War II. In the midst of this grueling conflict, President Roosevelt suggested that Americans were dying in Europe for the same reason that they died during the Revolutionary War: to fight tyranny in all its forms. The president...

  5. CHAPTER ONE How Enemyship Became Common Sense
    (pp. 33-66)

    It is one of the most famous lines in American history: echoed in movies; recited by schoolchildren. On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry told his audience at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, to “Give me liberty or give me death.” Like many episodes in American mythology, this defining moment might not have happened. The text of Henry’s speech did not survive, and Americans, at the very least, learned about Henry’s words only in the early nineteenth century.¹ Apocryphal or not, Henry’s words color how we remember the Revolutionary War: as an idealistic act of daring will. In turn, Henry’s...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Dilemmas of American Nationalism
    (pp. 67-112)

    Victory in the Revolutionary War was greeted with jubilation and a big sigh of relief. But Americans who lived through the war won something they had not bargained for, for victory required cooperation across far-flung communities and between people who had little in common besides their foes. The colonists who tangled with the British received more than military training. As they shared fears and prosecuted a war, they got the experience of working together toward a common cause: in short, the experience of being a people. The rhetoric fueling revolution helped colonists imagine a national community that blurred the lines...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Army of the Constitution
    (pp. 113-156)

    On December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the federal Constitution. In celebration, local federalists planned a parade in Carlisle on December 26. They were met with the shouts, taunts, and blows of determined anti-federalists, who stole a cannon intended to mark the occasion with bombast. The next day, anti-federalists continued to protest, whipping and then executing effigies of prominent Pennsylvania federalists. When several of the rioters were arrested, representatives from local militia units marched to the Carlisle jail to free them. Parading in Carlisle was hence turned upside down as anti-federalists seized the same city streets...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Contract of Blood
    (pp. 157-206)

    The date was July 4, 1793, and, as John Adams had hoped in 1776, the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was “solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”¹ Independence Day wastheholiday in the early Republic, especially in Boston, the city that launched a young Adams into political prominence. An oil-and-water amalgamation of choreographed pageantry and world-turned-upside-down reverie, Boston’s Fourth of July celebrations were not for the faint of heart.² This was not the...

  9. CONCLUSION: Hobbes’s Gamble and Franklin’s Warning
    (pp. 207-222)

    InExamination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution(1787), Noah Webster asked a question that was on the minds of all the founders—a question that if adequately answered would solve all of the problems posed by the nation-building project: “In what consists the power of a nation or of an order of men?”¹ Significantly, he returned to the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes to answer this question. “The present situation of our American states is very little better than a state of nature,” Webster reported. In a state of nature, there was no government, and “Suppose every man...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 223-278)
  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 279-298)
  12. Index
    (pp. 299-316)