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Online Talk - The Mayflower: The Making of America’s Foundation Myth

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Plymouth Rock became a national shrine and the Mayflower Compact, the foundation stone of American democracy.

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The story of the Mayflower and the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ began to be held in reverence in New England by the time of the 200th anniversary of the arrival in 1820. The fraught and troubled beginnings of the Plymouth settlement were re-invented by New England politicians, poets, pastors and artists, notably John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster. Plymouth Rock became a national shrine and the Mayflower Compact, the foundation stone of American democracy. The earlier Virginia Colony was swept aside; the emblem of proud southern planters, denied. The story became a national foundation myth, used in the rhetoric of ‘freedom versus slavery’ in the decades leading up to the Civil War. Join author Dr Rita O’Brien to learn more.

(Painting: "Pilgrims Going to Church" by George Henry Broughton - Courtesy of the New York Historical Society)

Please note: Further information for joining online via Zoom will be provided to participants 24 hours prior to the event, when bookings end.

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