One nation, indivisible, archived

I’ve been mulling over the ideas of nationhood and patriotism lately. In particular, I’m fascinated by the apotheosis of Obama — he is the Second Coming of MLK and Lincoln and Roosevelt and Kennedy, all as one man. I’m also intrigued by the palpable national and international relief at Obama’s ascendancy — the return to secular rationalism! a nostalgia for the New Deal! This is something more than just “thank GOD he’s not Bush!”

Obama is a mean rhetoritian: he mines the language of his forebears to give his words instant gravitas and familiarity; this has a double-effect of inducing a warm nostalgia for that previous golden era when Americans suffered more, were poorer but worked harder, and are now perceived through the lens of history to be more noble.
ARE these Americans more noble? DID they work harder? I give you these links, you can investigate for yourself. I’m still pondering.

Presidential Speech Archive (goes back to George Washington)

Library of Congress Print and Photo Archives (great for photos of presidential inaugurations)

Studs Terkel audio archive  (the original Ira Glass — conducted man-on-the-street interviews before anyone cared; fantastic interviews about the Depression, Civil Rights Movement, etc.)

Pledge of Allegiance - San Francisco, California (Dorothea Lange, 1942) Getty Museum

Pledge of Allegiance - San Francisco, California (Dorothea Lange, 1942) Getty Museum

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln (March 4, 1861) Library of Congress

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln (March 4, 1861) Library of Congress

Suffrage Parade, Washington D.C. (1913) Library of Congress

Suffrage Parade, Washington D.C. (1913) Library of Congress

Woman marching with peace sign and U.S. flag, disarmament conference, Washington, D.C. (1914-1922) Library of Congress

Woman marching with peace sign and U.S. flag, disarmament conference, Washington, D.C. (1914-1922) Library of Congress

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~ by ecp on January 21, 2009.

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