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Founding Fictions, Founding Fictions, 0817316906, 0-8173-1690-6, 978-0-8173-1690-7, 9780817316907, , , Founding Fictions, 0817383557, 0-8173-8355-7, 978-0-8173-8355-8, 9780817383558, , , Founding Fictions, 0817357343, 0-8173-5734-3, 978-0-8173-5734-4, 9780817357344,

Founding Fictions
Jennifer R. Mercieca

E Book
2010. 288 pp.
Price:  $34.95 d
Quality Paper
2012. 288 pp.
Price:  $34.95 s

Part political history, part rhetorical criticism, Founding Fictions is an extended analysis of how Americans imagined themselves as citizens between 1764 and 1845. It critically re-interrogates our fundamental assumptions about a government based upon the will of the people, with profound implications for our ability to assess democracy today.


Founding Fictions develops the concept of a “political fiction,” or a narrative that people tell about their own political theories, and analyzes how republican and democratic fictions positioned American citizens as either romantic heroes, tragic victims, or ironic partisans.  By re-telling the stories that Americans have told themselves about citizenship, Mercieca highlights an important contradiction in American political theory and practice: that national stability and active citizen participation are perceived as fundamentally at odds.

Jennifer R. Mercieca is an associate professor of Communication at Texas A&M University.

“…a historical study that speaks to the current issue of what kind of political culture and system of governance we have, and why and how our governing discourse marginalizes the citizenry even as it claims to advance the cause of democracy. Rhetorical scholars and students alike will find Founding Fictions’ careful distinction between republican and democratic forms to be insightful and helpful.”
--Robert L. Ivie, professor in the Department of Communication & Culture at Indiana University

“In this provocative, challenging study, Mercieca explores the relationship between American political theory and the stories told about American government. This is a book for those interested in political science, public policy, and citizen participation.”—CHOICE

“Rhetorical historians and political theorists can learn a lot from this volume. . . . Mercieca’s central thesis—that political theories are fictions, and that these fictions exert considerable influence on texts in any given historical context—is a concept worthy of further explication in future rhetorical histories.”—Journal of Communication