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Friendship, Formalities, and Membership in Post-Revolutionary America

Friendship, Formalities, and Membership in Post-Revolutionary America

Chapter:
(p.13) One Friendship, Formalities, and Membership in Post-Revolutionary America
Source:
The Making of Tocqueville'S America
Author(s):
Kevin Butterfield
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226297118.003.0002

In this chapter, three important cultural developments will be examined. First, by looking at the travails of the embattled Society of the Cincinnati the chapter will examine the growing belief that effective voluntary association requires formalities and procedural regularity. No group can rely on mere affection or friendship. Second, we will begin a theme that will be continued in part II: the increasingly sophisticated ways in which Americans embraced these kinds of formal practices within their own associations, by means of constitutions, bylaws, and resolute attention to procedure and predictability. Third, we will show just how pervasive these cultural practices were becoming by tracing the ways that they came to characterize practices in what was, for many American men and women, the most important of all associational connections: their own churches.

Keywords:   Society of the Cincinnati, voluntary association, constitutionalism, procedural fairness, civil society, church government

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