George Washington’s Wine Cooler: A Reflection of Post-Revolutionary America
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CitationBride, Marjorie. 2021. George Washington’s Wine Cooler: A Reflection of Post-Revolutionary America. Master's thesis, Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.
AbstractIn 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the new nation of the United States of America. Thereafter, he embarked on setting up a household that emphasized a “dignified and lasting American style, [as] the founding fathers were keenly aware of their legacy not only in politics and constitutional law but in their role as tastemakers in the realm of architecture and arts.” He ordered 12 Sheffield silver-plated wine coolers from Great Britain to be used for entertaining guests in a suitable fashion. During his presidency, he gave some of the coolers to acquaintances, and others were handed down to descendants; the one in my possession was given to my ancestor James McHenry.
I use this wine cooler as a tangible object of study and also to provide insights into cultural, economic, and political issues of post-Revolutionary America as they related to Great Britain. During my research this question arose: Why, after a bitter conflict and successful separation from Great Britain, did many colonists go back to their pre-war practice of trading with and emulating their former enemy? Although Americans accomplished the feat of setting up a unique new form of government, did they ever truly separate culturally from their mother country? Did economic needs dictate their cultural mores? Ultimately, what do revolutions accomplish for the citizens of a new country?
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367624
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