Memory's Nation: The Place of Plymouth Rock

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 9, 2000 - History - 720 pages
Long celebrated as a symbol of the country's origins, Plymouth Rock no longer receives much national attention. In fact, historians now generally agree that the Pilgrims' storied landing on the Rock never actually took place--the tradition having emerged more than a century after the arrival of the Mayflower.
In Memory's Nation, however, John Seelye is not interested in the factual truth of the landing. He argues that what truly gives Plymouth Rock its significance is more than two centuries of oratorical, literary, and artistic celebrations of the Pilgrims' arrival. Seelye traces how different political, religious, and social groups used the image of the Rock on behalf of their own specific causes and ideologies. Drawing on a wealth of speeches, paintings, and popular illustrations, he shows how Plymouth Rock changed in meaning over the years, beginning as a symbol of freedom evoked in patriotic sermons at the start of the Revolution and eventually becoming an icon of exclusion during the 1920s.

Originally published in 1998.

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A Boat a Ship Some People
The Liberty Boys Hoist One for the Forefathers
The Federalists Take Their Stand on the Rock
Webster and the Rock
Wherein Tears Are Struck from the Rock
Circumferential Matters Relating to the Rock
Wherein the Rock Becomes a Rolling Stone
Carving a Face on the Rock
Feminizing the Rock
Under the RockSomething for Bowdoin
Cutting a Colossus from the Rock
The Rocks Red Glare
Brooklyn NightsSomething by Way of Lighter Fare
The Stern and RockBound Lodge

The Great TrinitarianUnitarianCongregational Battle over the Ownership of the Pilgrims and Their Rock
Concerning Certain Flaws in the Rock
The Rock Rolled Back
Tabling the Rock
Written on the Rock
Setting Free the Rock
Rock Ballast for the Ship of State
Wherein the Rock Gets Reconstructed
The Pilgrim Fathers Where Are They?
The Rock Impounded
The Statue and the Rock
A Forwarding Address

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About the author (2000)

John Seelye is Graduate Research Professor of American Literature at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is author of a number of books in the field of American studies, including two volumes on the role of rivers in opening and permitting communications between the territories that became the United States.

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