"Washington Taking Command of the American
Army at Cambridge, Mass., July 3, 1776."
Unlike European countries that had centuries to draw
on as a source of tradition and memory, the United States
was without an ancestral past. Currier and Ives helped
foster a public memory by producing "more than 250
prints depicting high points in American history."
In doing so, they helped reassure Americans that they
could look back on a virtuous past with pride. It is this
recreated past with its nostalgia for the great men
of yore that became the foundation for American history
lessons taught to immigrants. That the prints may not
have resembled anything from real life was irrelevant.
Notice that the troops in the print to the left all look
like Washington and are dressed like him as well.