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Power in ModernityAgency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King's Two Bodies$
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Isaac Ariail Reed

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226689319

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226689593.001.0001

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Performing the People’s Two Bodies in the Early American Republic

Performing the People’s Two Bodies in the Early American Republic

(p.148) 6 Performing the People’s Two Bodies in the Early American Republic
Power in Modernity

Isaac Ariail Reed

University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the sovereign performances of the new government of the USA in the 1780s, 1790s, and 1800s, with special attention to the Whiskey Rebellion and the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, and the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. Via these events, a certain logic of modern politics—of inclusion in and exclusion from the political process—was performed into being. A specific configuration of sign and regime articulated "bodies of the people"—the political body of the republic, individual bodies of the electorate, and "grotesque" bodies that had to be excluded at all costs. It thus examines the "people's two bodies" as rendering of modern politics and republican government as a problem of meaning—specifically, the meanings necessary to glue together hierarchical relations between rectors and actors, to exclude others, and to forge the relationship between "the people" and the politicians they elected to represent them. Via a close reading of the negotiations that ended the Whiskey Rebellion, and a study of the change in frontier negotiations represented by the struggle between Anthony Wayne and Little Turtle, the longstanding problem of political philosophy familiar from Edmund Burke and Hannah Pitkin—political representation as delegation—is examined empirically as social dramaturgy.

Keywords:   Whiskey Rebellion, democracy, populism, Anthony Wayne, Alexander Hamilton, Little Turtle, performance, popular sovereignty, early American republic, American political culture

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