ARTICLE: IDENTITY AND CULTURAL PROPERTY: THE PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY IN THE UNITED STATES Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) Trustees of Boston University 1995.
Boston University Law Review

ARTICLE: IDENTITY AND CULTURAL PROPERTY: THE PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY IN THE UNITED STATES

May, 1995

New York University Law Review

75 B.U.L. Rev. 559

Author

Patty Gerstenblith *

Excerpt





Introduction
 



 
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation ...
 


The idea of the United States as a "new" nation founded upon pristine land, a new experiment in liberty and democracy, is perhaps the most central notion in our political consciousness and our understanding of our own history. The fact that the ancestors of few of us who now inhabit the United States were present at this birthing detracts but little from the majoritarian national pride in this shared understanding of our origins. Fundamental to this myth is the belief that the European explorers and colonists and their descendants who formed the "founding fathers" instituted their great experiment in democracy on a blank slate - a virgin territory that offered land of great promise and opportunity, unsullied by the failings, intolerance, and internecine and interreligious fighting that plagued European history and that the colonists sought to escape by coming to the New World.

The new society that was established on this shore owed its entire cultural history - language, religion, art, science, literature, and history itself - to Europe and the Mediterranean world. It was a long time before the thought took root that there was any culture of value that grew autochthonously from this soil; it was even longer before this new society recognized that there had been a culture of value in the New World that predated the advent of Europeanism. This yearning for a European and Mediterranean-based past led ...
 
 
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