Alma Mater
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Narrative of Founding Fathers in the US National Memory

A.V. Smagar

UDC 130.2:316.6


Anton V. Smagar, PhD student, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy of Language and Communication, e-mail:


The article is devoted to the narrative-constructivist analysis of the historical memory of the Founding Fathers in the USA. To achieve this goal, specific research tasks were performed in the article. First, the nation was conceptualized as a ‘narrative community’ constructed by certain narratives about the people, their culture, past, present and future. Secondly, the differences between historical knowledge (knowledge obtained using the methods of historical research) and historical memory (a collective representation of the past that reflects the value-normative conventions in society) were identified. Thirdly, the place, content, and functions of the historical narrative of the Founding Fathers in the US national memory were determined. Specifically, this narrative reflects the universal, archetypal mythologem of the “golden generation”, which is present in a variety of national cultures. It performs the functions of legitimizing and relativizing the social order (by creating a connection with the glorified past and, at the same time, breaking with it), as well as the function of regulating the behavior of individuals (by creating a model of civic virtue). Fourth, a connection was found between the national style of social narration and the Protestant tradition, which is the basis of the US civil religion. The author defends the idea that this connection predetermined the “religious style” of the national narration in the United States. Fifthly, the national narrative of the Founding Fathers was considered in the context of historical revisionism, which today is called upon to restore historical justice through demythologization of the national past. The premises of this historical revisionism were also identified: the academic institutionalization of new disciplines in the 1960s (e.g. women’s history, black history, etc.). This helped determine the current dynamics and ideological orientation of narrative practices in American society.

Key words: nation, narrative, narrative community, narrativization, historical memory, civil religion, historical revisionism, demythologization.