White savages in hunting shirts : the rifleman's costume of national identity and rebellion in the American Revolution
Date of Award
Master of Arts
Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.
Dr. James Axtell
Dr. Thomas Wren
This thesis relies on primary sources to address the significance of clothing and accoutrements worn by backwoods riflemen during the era of the American Revolution. As North America's rebellious colonies became a nation, they struggled to find cultural symbols that distinguished them from their European cousins. As Europeans often identified America symbolically as the "noble savage," in turn some Americans looked to the Indian for inspiration in their new search for national identity. During the Revolution many Americans from backwoods regions of the middle and southern colonies, wearing uniquely American garments called hunting shirts, openly rebelled against their European heritage by taking on Indian ways. The resulting cultural amalgam of frontier customs rejected the effete civility and class deference of old World society in favor of a new egalitarian and rugged ideal. In so doing, the frontiersmen became part of American cultural mythology and a symbol of the Rebellion.
Smith, Byron C., "White savages in hunting shirts : the rifleman's costume of national identity and rebellion in the American Revolution" (2000). Master's Theses. 629.