Civil Religion in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Musselman, Cody C.
MetadataShow full item record
In this study, I investigated the ritual, spatial and commercial aspects of American civil religion at Gettysburg—a cultural icon and national shrine. I observed the ritual recreation of history through the annual Gettysburg reenactment and how amateur historians alter history to influence the present. I also looked at the creation and maintenance of the battlefield as sacred space. Finally I examined the commodification of civil religion and the material culture within the tourism industry in the town of Gettysburg, by looking at the merchandise offered and drawing parallels to how it promotes American civil religion. The investigation of civil religion at Gettysburg warrants exploration because there has been little prior research done on the topic. Almost immediately after the Civil War’s most costly battle concluded, Gettysburg became a tourist destination as well as a national shrine. Tourism has long since changed both the town’s economic focus and its population. My investigation is important because it examines Gettysburg’s ongoing relationship with American history and demonstrates how Gettysburg serves as a physical outlet for American civil religion.