Evaluating the Legitimacy of the American Foundation Myth

Thomas Sherlock


This article aims to discuss the reasons and consequences of the recent historical monuments’ destruction in the United States. The author uses the concept of Foundation myths as well as opinion polls’ results and cases from modern history to provide argumentation for the idea of ongoing polarization in American society. The results show that, although the political elites are relatively united on the issue of historical memory, there is a certain division among ordinary citizens. The causes for the recent attacks on the monuments and the historical figures they represent lies in the crisis, caused by the COVID-pandemic, economic downturn and protests over racism. However, the fundamental reason lies in the chronic socio-economic, cultural, and political difficulties, particularly income inequality, political polarization of elites and mass publics of American society. In the conclusion of the article, the author discusses how the discourse over historical figures and foundation myths shaped 2020 Presidential elections in the US and how specific agenda related to Founding Fathers was used by the US President Donald Trump during his campaign.

For citation: Sherlock, T. (2020). Evaluating the Legitimacy of the American Foundation Myth. Tempus et Memoria, 1, 1–2, 76–81.

Submitted: 30.10.2020

Accepted: 02.12.2020

Ключевые слова

foundation myth; memory; legitimacy; monument; society; commemoration


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(c) 2020 Thomas Sherlock