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Past and ProloguePolitics and Memory in the American Revolution$
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Michael D. Hattem

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300234961

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300234961.001.0001

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(p.1) Prologue
Past and Prologue

Michael D. Hattem

Yale University Press

Revolutions are often understood as decisive breaks with the past, both in the moment and by subsequent generations. For example, after the establishment of a republic in the late eighteenth century, French revolutionaries sought to erase their monarchical past by radically redefining their calendar and, in the process, their very sense of time. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Stalin employed historians to craft an official version of its history with himself at the center and had historical documents that contradicted his own narrative destroyed. After a number of nineteenth-century colonial revolutions, many Latin American historians simply excluded their colonial pasts from their new national histories. For the United States, too, its revolution is often understood as a rejection of the past represented by the Old World of Europe, which was rendered irrelevant in the wake of the New World’s first modern republic....

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