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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 13:53 GMT
Heritage
First broadcast November 2006

American Revolution re-enactment

Every nation offers clues about the way they see themselves in the way they preserve their historic buildings and cherished artefacts.

In this four-part Heritage series Malcolm Billings explores the archaeology of patriotism in the USA.

He looks at the places, events and objects that Americans hold dear. And asks how these influence the way they show affection for their nation.

Part Two: Patriotism

Malcolm takes a close look at Americans' sense of patriotism and reveals their emotional connection with history.

He steps among the ruins of Yorktown and the buildings of 18th Century Williamsburg, that is remarkably well-preserved due in part to John D. Rockefeller who bought the entire town during the Depression.

Malcolm reveals the perspective of slaves at the time of the American Revolution. For them freedom lay on the British side because the retiring British governor, Lord Dunmore, offered a release from captivity if they rebelled against their masters.

He visits the National Archives in Washington to see the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and most important of all, the Declaration of Independence. Always on permanent display, the Declaration is faded and can only be read with difficulty, but people simply want to be in its presence even if they cannot read the parchment.


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