Article

America’s Cultural Revolution in Transnational Perspective

Leora Auslander

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199746705.013.0034

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 America’s Cultural Revolution in Transnational Perspective

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  • United States History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • Social and Cultural History

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Through their successfully waged war and also by their novel political strategies, eighteenth-century North Americans seeking home rule made history. By systematically organizing around a refusal of British goods and developing a new national taste, they politicized the everyday. Twenty years later, this politicization was reprised in the French Revolution. Whereas the new American aesthetic was defined by sobriety and domestic production, the forms generated in the French Revolutionary decade combined the symbols of Republicanism with styles connoting non-aristocratic values. The likeness and difference of the role of culture, domesticity, and gender in the American and French revolutions are represented in their iconic forms—homespun for the United States and the dress of the sans-culottes for France. Both revolutions were characterized by a consistent investment in material culture and everyday life, and gave rise to new political cultures. This reformulation is best conceptualized using the term “cultural revolution.”

Keywords: American Revolution; French Revolution; United States; France; cultural revolution; goods; politicization; culture; domesticity; gender

Article.  10076 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Social and Cultural History

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