Chapter

Seeing Nationhood

David Morgan

in Powers

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231560
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823231560.003.0006

Series: The Future of the Religious Past

Seeing Nationhood

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This chapter explores the use of images, art as well as popular imagery, in constructing America's national identity. It argues that national identity, civil piety, and religion are intertwined in these identity constructions. An image in an early schoolbook, for example, shows George Washington at prayer on the eve of battle, thereby pointing to the combination of religious and national identities. Cityscapes show the strength of American power: humanity replacing God. The chapter argues for the existence of two civil religions: patriotism, which emphasizes individual rights and dissent, totemized by the Statue of Liberty in New York; and nationalism, which totemizes the American flag as a symbol of national unity.

Keywords: America; national identity; images; civil piety; religion; patriotism; nationalism; flag; national unity; individual rights

Chapter.  8258 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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