Competing Visions of America: The Fourth of July During the Civil War
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By examining the celebration of the Fourth of July during the Civil War, this thesis will highlight the regional distinctiveness of both sides of the war. This work is divided into two main parts, one focusing on the Fourth of July in the Union, the other on the Fourth of July in the Confederacy. Three separate areas of commemoration are analyzed: in newspaper rhetoric, on the home front, and on the battlefield.
Rather than stating that the Confederacy abandoned the holiday entirely, this thesis shows that the North and the South celebrated different aspects of the holiday, which reflected unique interpretations of America. Drawing on newspaper and diary accounts, these interpretations are tracked over the course of the war. The Southern perspective could not outlast the Confederacy, the reestablishment of the Union cemented the Northern view, and with emancipation a new vision of America emerged.
- Masters Theses