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Surface and DepthThe Quest for Legibility in American Culture$
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Michael T. Gilmore

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157765.001.0001

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Three Foundational Documents and Their Indelibility

Three Foundational Documents and Their Indelibility

Chapter:
(p.5) CHAPTER 1 Three Foundational Documents and Their Indelibility
Source:
Surface and Depth
Author(s):

Michael T. Gilmore (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157765.003.0002

This chapter investigates three of the foundational texts of American culture: John Winthrop’s Model of Christian Charity, William Penn’s plan for the city of Philadelphia, and Thomas Jeffersons Declaration of Independence. Each document is analyzed in itself and as a prototype for later cultural practices. Legacies include religious and psychological confessionalism; phrenology; the grid system of the American landscape; the passion for numeracy; and the occlusion of racial minorities, especially Blacks.

Keywords:   John Winthrop, Model of Christian Charity, William Penn, Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, confessionalism, phrenology, numeracy

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