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The fall and burning of Washington D.C. without substantial resistance by the American army and militia was initially an obvious disgrace, however the widely read Washington based newspaper, The National Intelligencer, sought to rewrite this story of defeat into a narrative highlighting republican virtue. Utilizing preexisting stereotypes perpetuated in their paper of British soldiers acting immoral, the staff of The National Intelligencer articulated that the men defending Washington had to return to their individual homes on account of the impending barbarism and savagery of the British invaders, therefore vindicating the militiamen of their lack of resistance and praising their virtuous paternalism.
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Cline, Wesley C., "The National Intelligencer Validating Cowardice: How a Washington D.C. Newspaper Redefined Defeat into Republican Victory" (2020). Student Publications. 800.