America's Public Holidays: 1865-1920. (Reviews).America's Public Holidays: 1865-1920. By Ellen M. Litwicki (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, at Washington, D.C.; founded 1846 under terms of the will of James Smithson of London, who in 1829 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to create an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of , 2000. ix plus 293 pp. $39.95).
Ellen Litwicki's Public Holidays takes its place among several recently published and valuable studies of historical memory and commemorative activities in the U.S. between the Civil War and World War I. In this concise and readable book chapters are devoted to Memorial and Decoration Days, black Emancipation days, labor and socialist holidays, ethnic holidays, and efforts of late nineteenth century and Progressive era reformers to inculcate in·cul·cate
tr.v. in·cul·cat·ed, in·cul·cat·ing, in·cul·cates
1. To impress (something) upon the mind of another by frequent instruction or repetition; instill: inculcating sound principles. patriotism and environmental consciousness in schoolchildren schoolchildren school npl → écoliers mpl;
(at secondary school) → collégiens mpl; lycéens mpl
schoolchildren school . The main organizers of these holidays were middle-class men and women or trade unionists, socialists, and anarchists. The book is a national study, which also draws heavily on case studies of holiday celebrations in Tucson, Chicago, and Richmond. Litwicki emphasizes the history of secular holidays celebrated once a year in the schools or in public venues, although she cannot help but stray into offering observations about parades, floats, female symbols of the nation, flag-waving, public statues, and patriotism .
Memorializing the Civil War was one of the main reasons for the large number of public holidays suggested and celebrated in this period. Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall stone·wall
v. stone·walled, stone·wall·ing, stone·walls
a. Jackson, and Jefferson Davis all emerged as regional heroes. (Lincoln was too much disliked in the South to be a national one.) Because the Civil War remained a source of conflict, the best national heroes came from an earlier era. Thus, Washington (and to a lesser extent, Christopher Columbus) provided the least contested historical figures. The other reasons for cluttering the calendar in these decades were the rise of socialism and of organized labor Organized Labor
An association of workers united as a single, representative entity for the purpose of improving the workers' economic status and working conditions through collective bargaining with employers. Also known as "unions". , the need for immigrant and black self-definition, and the desire of the white middle class to promote law-and-order, patriotism, and the assimilation of immigrants. Many holidays remained state or regional events, even though some leaders hoped to make them national ones. Black politicians were unable to secure much white support for federal Emancipation Day. Constitution Day never became a national holiday because the American people An American people may be:
Voluntary associations, often working in tandem Adv. 1. in tandem - one behind the other; "ride tandem on a bicycle built for two"; "riding horses down the path in tandem"
tandem with the press, organized most of these holidays and pressed for them to become state or national holidays. Women usually played supporting roles, figuring as symbols of the nation on floats, and as behind-the-scenes organizers, but not as public orators. There was virtually no agreement in the nation over what events were worthy of celebrating. Thus, there were continual struggles between blacks and whites, natives and immigrants, capital and labor, socialists and the American Federation of Labor Noun 1. American Federation of Labor - a federation of North American labor unions that merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955
federation - an organization formed by merging several groups or parties over what holidays to recognize and how they should be celebrated. Ethnic groups were also internally divided by religion and attitudes toward temperance Temperance
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
organization founded to help alcoholics (1934). [Am. Culture: EB, I: 448]
provides protection against drunkenness; February birthstone. and gambling.
Litwicki's study of racial and ethnic holidays is exceptionally rich; she mines pamphlets and newspapers, including the foreign language press. She pays special attention to the development of Mexican Independence Day in Tucson and a variety of ethnic holidays in Chicago from Kosciusko's birthday to St. Patrick's St. Patrick's or Saint Patrick's may refer to:
Litwicki shows that holiday instruction in the public schools began because civic elites wanted to encourage support for law and order and quell anarchism anarchism (ăn`ərkĭzəm) [Gr.,=having no government], theory that equality and justice are to be sought through the abolition of the state and the substitution of free agreements between individuals. and labor violence. Progressives at the turn of the century broadened the definition of patriotism to include civicmindedness and participation in community life. Litwicki's portrait of Progressive reformers is similar to that in most recent textbooks: they emerge as racist, interested in assimilating immigrants to the dominant culture, and environmentalist environmentalist
a person with an interest and knowledge about the interaction of humans and animals with the environment. . On Bird Day schoolchildren learned about the needless slaughter of birds to provide feathers for women's hats. On Arbor Day schoolchildren planted trees to learn the value of reforestation Reforestation
The reestablishment of forest cover either naturally or artificially. Given enough time, natural regeneration will usually occur in areas where temperatures and rainfall are adequate and when grazing and wildfires are not too frequent. . Progressive educators regarded tree planting as an expression of the concept of community spirit and community spirit as the building block to develop an emotional attachment to the nation.
So far as public holidays are concerned, there was always a difference between the intent of the organizers and the results achieved. The intention was invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil to create group identity and solidarity, inculcate a version of the historical past, build organizational membership, and press for public support of distinct social policies. Invariably, the results fell short of intentions. Some were unable to celebrate a holiday because employers did not grant a day off from work. When American adults and children did have a day of leisure, however, they seem to have preferred spectacle, sport, and picnicking to listening to oratory oratory, the art of swaying an audience by eloquent speech. In ancient Greece and Rome oratory was included under the term rhetoric, which meant the art of composing as well as delivering a speech. . The late nineteenth century public was far more interested in viewing bicycle races than in visiting the cemetery on Memorial Day. The crowds at holiday events invariably dwindled after a holiday had been celebrated for more than a decade. Since commercial public culture was more appealing than oratory, organizers found that the best way of combining the two was to add singing and da ncing, costumes, a parade and fireworks fireworks: see pyrotechnics.
Explosives or combustibles used for display. Of ancient Chinese origin, fireworks evidently developed out of military rockets and explosive missiles and accompanied the spread of military explosives westward to .