5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
“Politics and the American Revolution in the 2008 Presidential Campaign”
Andrew Schocket, Bowling Green State University
Politicians invoke the American Revolution as the ultimate appeal to civic authority, as a challenge to live up or exceed the founders’ vision, and in paeans to patriotism. This paper analyzes references to the Revolution in the campaign speeches of John McCain and Barack Obama as well as those of other primary candidates for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations. It thereby maps the terrain of today’s politicized memory of the American Revolution so as to explore shared tropes, common themes, and ideological differences, and to suggest their ramifications for historians.