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May 17, 2012

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Charles Paul Hoffman

I think a lot of it is using formal language to say "the State Assembly paid for this monument." Using the "by the authority of . . ." language may just be a side effect of trying to maintain a formal, solemn tone.

Alfred Brophy

Interesting thought. A lot of monuments say who paid for them (I think this is required in SC -- or used to be), but even that's sort of strange, isn't it? Then it becomes a monument to the people who put it up, rather than the people who're being honored. But maybe that's the point -- it's a monument to the state legislature in 1905 rather than the soldiers of NC in 1865?

Moreover, the monument and "the law" are both forms of making an official history. Each works to amplify the other's message.

Charles Paul Hoffman

I wouldn't say that the monument becomes more about the state legislature than the soldiers, just that the legislature (or whomever) has made itself a part of the story. You're right in saying that practically all monuments and plaques list who paid for it. It creates a narrative of "this group worked hard to make sure we remembered our history". Like, all the plaques put up the DAR subtly remind us that the DAR isn't just a group of stodgy women with old ancestry; they're also involved (or, more likely, were involved) in helping to create a lasting memory of the American Revolution.

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