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American HonorThe Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era$
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Craig Bruce Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638836

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638836.001.0001

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The Counterrevolution in American Ethics

The Counterrevolution in American Ethics

Reinterpretations of the Next Generations

Chapter:
(p.212) Chapter Seven The Counterrevolution in American Ethics
Source:
American Honor
Author(s):

Craig Bruce Smith

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638836.003.0008

Escorting the reader through the turn of the nineteenth century to the War of 1812, this chapter uses dueling (especially the Hamilton-Burr duel) and tensions between political parties as a lens to examine conflicting definitions of national honor and the temporary decline of personal honor. However, it also illustrates the revival of personal honor in the sons of the Revolutionary generation at the dawn of the War of 1812, especially as exhibited through reactions to British impressments and the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. This chapter presents a counterrevolution in ethics that was contested between the Revolutionary generation (with specific focus on Adams and Jefferson’s conception of natural aristocracy) and their descendents. The nature of this conflict exhibits the continually evolving concepts of ethics, honor, and virtue. But the resistance to a return to an older form of honor illustrates the continuation of the Revolution’s ideals.

Keywords:   Dueling, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Counterrevolution, Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, War of 1812, Descendants, James Barron, Natural Aristocracy

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