American Scripture: How America Declared Its Independence from Britain

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Pimlico, 1999 - United States - 304 pages
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Pauline Maier, one of today's foremost authorities on the American Revolution, shows the 1776 Declaration of Independence as both the defining statement of national identity and the moral standard by which Americans live as a nation. It is truly American scripture and Maier tells us how this came to be - from the Declaration's birth in the hard, tortured struggle for independence from Britain to the ways in which the document itself is sanctified in the nineteenth century. Delving back into English history - from the Magna Carta in 1215 to the trial of Charles I in 1649 - Maier reveals the origins of key ideas and phrases. she unravels the complex story of its drafting and editing and shows what happened to it after the signing - its part in nineteenth-century political wars, and how Abraham Lincoln ensured its persistence as a living force in American society.

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About the author (1999)

Pauline Maier was born on April 27, 1938 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received an undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Radcliffe College in 1960, studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science on a Fulbright scholarship, and received a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. She was a history professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for three decades. She wrote several books including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776, The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams, and American Sculpture: Making the Declaration of Independence. She won the George Washington Book Prize for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788. She died of lung cancer on August 12, 2013 at the age of 75.

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