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City of Second SightNineteenth-Century Boston and the Making of American Visual Culture$
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Justin T. Clark

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469638737

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469638737.001.0001

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Ordering Boston’s Landscape

Ordering Boston’s Landscape

(p.9) 1 Ordering Boston’s Landscape
City of Second Sight

Justin T. Clark

University of North Carolina Press

Starting in the late 1820s, Unitarian intellectuals began to argue that vision was a miracle for the masses, a God-given channel of mental and moral self-culture. Steering parishioners between the extremes of deistic materialism and religious irrationalism, Unitarian ministers assured Bostonians that by becoming pious but rational witnesses to the world’s natural beauty, they could avoid “visionary” religious enthusiasm and the sensory dazzlement of fashion and drink. By creating a sacred urban geography of genteel parks, vistas, public buildings and monuments, Federalist and later Whig reformers hoped to forge a civic culture based on patriotic “associations” that would survive the city’s topographical and social transience.

Keywords:   City Planning, Built environment, History of Boston (Massachusetts), Federalism, Unitarianism

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