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Blackface NationRace, Reform, and Identity in American Popular Music, 1812-1925$
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Brian Roberts

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226451787.001.0001

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(p.24) 1 Carnival
Blackface Nation

Brian Roberts

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the origin of ideals associated with American identity and the development of national ideals of patriotism. Focusing specifically on the broadsides published by Boston printer Nathaniel Coverly during the War of 1812, it argues that the popular version of American identity that emerged in this period was a radical reversal of order and the elevation of the common folk. This sentiment was perhaps most clearly embodied in the song “Yankee Doodle.” The song, which described colonists as backward and vulgar, was meant as an insult during the Revolutionary War, but was embraced by Americans during the War of 1812 as a statement of radical, democratic egalitarism.

Keywords:   Nathaniel Coverly Jr., broadside ballads, popular culture, American Revolution, sexuality, popular music, Colonial Era, Yankee Doodle, gender ideology

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