Cradle of Liberty: Race, the Child, and National Belonging from Thomas Jefferson to W. E. B. Du Bois

Cradle of Liberty: Race, the Child, and National Belonging from Thomas Jefferson to W. E. B. Du Bois

by Caroline Levander
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822338726

ISBN-13: 9780822338727

Pub. Date: 10/25/2006

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Throughout American literature, the figure of the child is often represented in opposition to the adult. In Cradle of Liberty Caroline F. Levander proposes that this opposition is crucial to American political thought and the literary cultures that surround and help produce it. Levander argues that from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth

Overview

Throughout American literature, the figure of the child is often represented in opposition to the adult. In Cradle of Liberty Caroline F. Levander proposes that this opposition is crucial to American political thought and the literary cultures that surround and help produce it. Levander argues that from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth, American literary and political texts did more than include child subjects: they depended on them to represent, naturalize, and, at times, attempt to reconfigure the ground rules of U.S. national belonging. She demonstrates how, as the modern nation-state and the modern concept of the child (as someone fundamentally different from the adult) emerged in tandem from the late eighteenth century forward, the child and the nation-state became intertwined. The child came to represent nationalism, nation-building, and the intrinsic connection between nationalism and race that was instrumental in creating a culture of white supremacy in the United States.

Reading texts by John Adams, Thomas Paine, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Augusta J. Evans, Mark Twain, Pauline Hopkins, William James, José Martí, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others, Levander traces the child as it figures in writing about several defining events for the United States. Among these are the Revolutionary War, the U.S.-Mexican War, the Civil War, and the U.S. expulsion of Spain from the Caribbean and Cuba. She charts how the child crystallized the concept of self—a self who could affiliate with the nation—in the early national period, and then follows the child through the rise of a school of American psychology and the period of imperialism. Demonstrating that textual representations of the child have been a potent force in shaping public opinion about race, slavery, exceptionalism, and imperialism, Cradle of Liberty shows how a powerful racial logic pervades structures of liberal democracy in the United States.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822338727
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
10/25/2006
Series:
New Americanists
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction : Natal Nationalism: The Place of the Child in American Cultural Studies 1

1. The Child and the Racial Politics of Nation Making in the Slavery Era 29

2. Southern Fictions and the “Race” of Nations Along the Mexican Border 52

3. Consenting Fictions, Fictions of Consent: The Child and the Nineteenth-Century Sentimental Novel 78

4. Transnational Twain 111

5. Henry James, Pauline Hopkins, and Psychologies of Race 133

6. Raceless States: W.E.B. Du Bois and Cuba 157

Notes 179

Bibliography 211

Index 239

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