What Depictions Make it a New Nation Tribute Button
~ New Nation (1st Birthday) Tribute Buttons ~
After studying George Washington inaugural buttons for years, I believe that past collectors and researchers have mistakenly identified New Nation Tribute buttons for GW inaugurals. The Freemason guilds that produced George Washington inaugural buttons would have taken the opportunity to benefit from the positive sentiment of the people for their New Federal Government. I believe that these engravers made a limited set of patterns that would celebrate America’s establishment of a new Federal government. Unlike George Washington inaugural buttons, these buttons have no symbol within the pattern that pay tribute to Washington. These buttons used depictions like Morning Glories, Stars, Wheat Stalks, Federal Shields, or an Eagle Variation of the Great Seal of the United States. These depictions that adorn these New Nation Tribute button have nothing to do with praising Washington as our First President. New Nation Tribute buttons were made to honor our New Country.
They were crafted by the same Master-Mason and Fellow-Craft Level Guild Apprentices that did all the George Washington Inaugural, Religious, and Scottish Jacobite buttons. These New Nation Tribute buttons would have been sold at the same time, or along side of George Washington inaugural buttons. These buttons (along with Rattlesnake buttons prior) were sold throughout the states to everyone, and not just reserved for the wealthy genteel class. We have concrete evidence that both fancy clothiers and men’s fashion magazines offered New Nation Tribute buttons in both gilt or silvered variations for wealthy customers. This button wasn’t just limited to the wealthy as one would suspect, there was also copper, brass and bronze additions as well. I also believe the common man during that era was so patriotic and proud that he would have afforded himself copper or bronze button to show his patriotism toward our new Federal government. The need for an established federal government was a benefit for all men. I always like to think of the example of how the average man who got paid in New York couldn’t journey to New Jersey to spend his New York State notes on goods. It was little instances like this example that compelled the need for an established federal government.
The buttons that were once considered and listed by past collectors as George Washington inaugurals would include: GWI 2, 15, 26, and 28. The meaning behind the symbolism of New Nation Tribute buttons show the unification of the 13 states under a unanimously ratified constitution. This means America can be recognized as unified Nation on the worlds stage for commerce.
So, let me put a real spin on this button as i have come to know 18th century Freemasons and their control of the business infrastructure in the United States during Post-Revolutionary War times. Let me keep it simple and call it, “The $Bottom Line$”… lol These 18th century Freemasons that controlled the guilds for the output of engraved celebratory memorabilia saw the idea of having a New Nation Tribute button as one more thing they can make a profit with along side of George Washington Inaugural buttons. Because i can recite the many reasons a person would want one, it makes it more desirable for a gold controlled profession to make one for a Patriot. 1) A New Nation Tribute button celebrates the country’s 1st birthday. 2) It celebrates that our New FederalGovernment will start to operate under a state ratified Constitution instead of separate states operating under the post-Revolutionary War Articles Confederation. 3) The 1st time the Senate would convene as a unified body under a newly created federal government. 4) Other nations will have to deal with America as a country on the World’s Stage. There is a long list, but lets skip to my favorite: how about we make other manufactured patriotic products that use a form the Great Seal of the United States, Stars, and Morning Glory as a celebratory sales item that honor our country $$$, oops sorry, I meant to put-! Putting all that to the side, these truly are Great buttons! I believe New National Tribute buttons have a Greater Collector Value due to it’s rarity then the more commonly found George Washington Inaugural Buttons. Most people were buying GW’s to honor George Washington which is probably the cause of their scarcity. -Robert J. Silverstein