By Joseph J. Ellis
Via photographs of 4 figures—Charles Willson Peale, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, William Dunlap, and Noah Webster—Joseph Ellis presents a different point of view at the position of tradition in post-Revolutionary the United States, either its excessive expectancies and its frustrations.
Each existence is attention-grabbing in its personal correct, and every is used to brightly light up the old context.
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Extra info for After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture
In such displays, the boundary between seduction and revulsion is surprisingly ﬂuid. S. soldiers, repulsed the American public. But aestheticized portrayals of torture in ﬁlm and television attracted mass audiences and built political support for use of harsh methods whose reality was shown in those same Abu Ghraib photos. Although seemingly less brutal than physical techniques, psychological torture has proven emotionally destructive, inﬂicting deep trauma and lasting emotional scars. Indeed, the early experiments in sensory deprivation elicited the behavior one would expect of someone undergoing torture.
Placing this history in a comparative perspective raises some disconcerting historical parallels. In the long wind-down of their global empires, both Britain and France used torture to contain anticolonial resistance, producing scandals that delegitimated their imperial rule. ” Similarly, in its long imperial recessional, Great Britain also used torture—sporadically in Malaya, systematically in Aden and Kenya, and scandalously in Northern Ireland—ﬁnding in each case that exposé weakened the moral legitimacy of its cause.
By contrast, the CIA’s psychological paradigm fused two new methods, the sensory disorientation discovered by Hebb and the self-inﬂicted pain documented by Cornell researchers, in a combination that would, in theory, cause victims to feel responsible for their own suﬀering and feel subservient to their inquisitors. Reﬁned over the next forty years, the CIA’s method came to rely on a mix of sensory overload and sensory deprivation via the manipulation of seemingly banal factors—heat and cold, light and dark, noise and silence, feast and famine—all meant to attack the ﬁve essential sensory pathways into the human mind.
After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture by Joseph J. Ellis