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Americans honor the flag with a fervor seen in few other countries: The Stars and Stripes decorate American homes and businesses; wave over sports events and funerals; and embellish everything from politicians’ lapels to the surface of the moon. But what does the flag mean? In Capture the Flag, historian Woden Teachout reveals that it has held vastly different meanings over time. It has been claimed by both the right and left; by racists and revolutionaries; by immigrants and nativists. In tracing the political history of the flag from its origins in the American Revolution through the present day, Teachout demonstrates that the shifting symbolism of the flag reveals a broader shift in the definition of American patriotism. A story of a nation in search of itself, Capture the Flag offers a probing account of the flag that has become America’s icon.
Reconnecting with the sources of decisions that affect us, and with the processes of democracy itself, is at the heart of 21st-century sustainable communities. Slow Democracy chronicles the ways in which ordinary people have mobilized to find local solutions to local problems. It invites us to bring the advantages of "slow" to our community decision making. Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered. Susan Clark and Woden Teachout outline the qualities of real, local decision making and show us the range of ways that communities are breathing new life into participatory democracy around the country. We meet residents who seize back control of their municipal water systems from global corporations, parents who find unique solutions to seemingly divisive school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizens across the nation who have designed local decision-making systems to solve the problems unique to their area in ways that work best for their communities. Though rooted in the direct participation that defined our nation's early days, slow democracy is not a romantic vision for reigniting the ways of old. Rather, the strategies outlined here are uniquely suited to 21st-century technologies and culture.If our future holds an increased focus on local food, local energy, and local economy, then surely we will need to improve our skills at local governance as well.
As military campaigns go, the War of 1812 was a disaster. By the time it ended in 1815, Washington, D.C., had been burned to the ground, the national debt had nearly tripled, and territorial gains were negligible. Yet the war gained so much popular support that it ushered in what is known as the "era of good feelings," a period of relative partisan harmony and strengthened national identity. Historian Nicole Eustace's cultural history of the war tells the story of how an expensive, unproductive campaign won over a young nation—largely by appealing to the heart. 1812 looks at the way each major event of the war became an opportunity to capture the American imagination: from the first attempt at invading Canada, intended as the grand opening of the war; to the battle of Lake Erie, where Oliver Perry hoisted the flag famously inscribed with "Don't Give Up the Ship"; to the burning of the Capitol by the British. Presidential speeches and political cartoons, tavern songs and treatises appealed to the emotions, painting war as an adventure that could expand the land and improve opportunities for American families. The general population, mostly shielded from the worst elements of the war, could imagine themselves participants in a great national movement without much sacrifice. Bolstered with compelling images of heroic fighting men and the loyal women who bore children for the nation, war supporters played on romantic notions of familial love to espouse population expansion and territorial aggression while maintaining limitations on citizenship. 1812 demonstrates the significance of this conflict in American history: the war that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" laid the groundwork for a patriotism that still reverberates today.
Three kids get caught up in an adventure of historic proportions! Anna, José, and Henry are complete strangers with more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington D.C. airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger, news stations everywhere have announced that the famous flag that inspired "The Star-Spangled Banner" has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in too, recruits Henry and José to help catch the thieves and bring them to justice. But when accusations start flying, they soon realize there's more than justice at stake. As the snow starts clearing, Anna, José, and Henry find themselves in a race against time (and the weather!) to prevent the loss of an American treasure.
This compelling book argues that American patriotism is a civil religion of blood sacrifice, which periodically kills its children to keep the group together. The flag is the sacred object of this religion; its sacrificial imperative is a secret which the group keeps from itself to survive. Expanding Durkheim's theory of the totem taboo as the organizing principle of enduring groups, Carolyn Marvin uncovers the system of sacrifice and regeneration which constitutes American nationalism, shows why historical instances of these rituals succeed or fail in unifying the group, and explains how mass media are essential to the process. American culture is depicted as ritually structured by a fertile center and sacrificial borders of death. Violence plays a key part in its identity. In essence, nationalism is neither quaint historical residue nor atavistic extremism, but a living tradition which defines American life.
This book explores a widely lived yet little remembered facet of America's cultural and political history: the Cold War as experienced at the grassroots level. Here, Fried traces the cresting of modern patriotic observance during World War II and then shows how patriotic and civic activists afterwards labored to recreate a remembered unity and commitment in the tension-filled Cold War era. A variety of national and local entities mounted campaigns "to sell America to the Americans" through "rededication" celebrations like Know Your America Week and Freedom Week. The American Heritage Foundation wheeled out the Freedom Train, which carried seminal documents of the nation's past to railroad depots across the US. Fried revisits the 1950 "Communist invasion" of Mosinee, Wisconsin, when ersatz Stalinists harassed and bullied citizens and the town's eateries served only potato soup and black bread. He also depicts the creation and inauguration of new patriotic events like Loyalty Day and Armed Forces Day. Meticulously researched, this book recreates a colorful, sometimes comical, and always revealing dimension of our history.
Read here the storied history of these United States. The stories in this book are part of what Abraham Lincoln called the “mystic chords of memory.” They are the symbols that define the essence of the United States, that mark its historic course, and connect its people. The American Patriot’s Almanac is a daily source of inspiration and information about the history, heroes, and achievements that sum up what this nation is all about.

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