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No Direction HomeThe American Family and the Fear of National Decline, 1968-1980$
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Natasha Zaretsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830949

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867808_zaretsky

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The Spirit of '76

The Spirit of '76

The bicentennial and Cold War Revivalism

(p.143) 4 The Spirit of '76
No Direction Home

Natasha Zaretsky

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the so-called producerist ethic by focusing on the Bicentennial of 1976 as an attempt to redress the intertwined anxieties about national decline and family decline that had beset America by the mid-1970s. Drawing on the records of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, the chapter considers how planners conjured a national celebration by taking into account the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and economic recession. More specifically, it looks at the decentralization of the celebration to honor the family, the ethnic tribe, and the local community rather than the nation. This strategy made household producerism a standard feature of the Bicentennial, highlighted by activities such as museum recreations of colonial kitchens and folk festivals showcasing tribal art and craftsmanship. The chapter concludes by discussing one variety of nationalism other than “diversity nationalism”: the revival of patriotism and military order.

Keywords:   household producerism, Bicentennial, America, Vietnam War, Watergate, economic recession, family, diversity nationalism, patriotism, military order

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