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In recent years scholars have paid increasing attention to the concept of "republicanism" as a measure of cultural change in America during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. To the Revolutionary generation republicanism connoted most obviously a representative form of government, based upon popular sovereignty and limited in its powers by a written constitution. But republican ideology encompassed far more than the restructuring of political institutions. It called for a regenerated society as well, in which men should be encouraged to pursue their individual destinies with a minimum of interference from public authorities. Civic morality and self-determination were closely linked in republican thought, and the theme of a virtuous and productive citizenry permeated much of the literature and art of the new nation.



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