This Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity

This Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity

by Carroll Smith-Rosenberg

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This Violent Empire: The Birth of an American National Identity

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
There are many fine moments. . . Smith-Rosenberg joins her research to that of others with clarifying effect.—Early American Literature

Library Journal
Through an extraordinarily original analysis of the early republic's print culture, including political magazines, newspapers, and novels, Smith-Rosenberg (Mary Frances Berry Collegiate Professor Emeritus, Univ. of Michigan, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America) presents readers with the true American paradox of a land that celebrates its rich diversity while simultaneously excluding and marginalizing particular groups. Her central argument is that postrevolutionary attempts to construct a unified "American" identity based on principles of equality and a merging of republicanism with bourgeois commercial capitalism faltered in the face of deeply entrenched cultural and economic divisions as well as bitter racial and gender discrimination. The more unstable and ambiguous these newly fashioned identities became, the more they required a series of constituted "others," including rural farmers, Native Americans, bourgeois women, and enslaved African Americans. These others refused to give in, struck back, and further destabilized an already fragmented national identity. VERDICT Smith-Rosenberg has unflinchingly constructed a dynamic new paradigm for understanding "postcolonial" American society. While her work is certainly academic in tone and complex subject matter, its provocative exposé of the modern American issues of racism, xenophobia, and sexism makes it essential reading for everyone seriously interested in American history.—Brian Odom, Pelham P.L., AL

Product Details

The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
In this much anticipated work, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg takes up Crevecoeur's challenge 'What then is the American, this new man?' and boldly answers: A deeply divided subject of This Violent Empire, this United States. In exposing republican citizens' desires and fears, she not only opens up new realms of thought and inquiry—she makes clear that no genuine understanding of the new nation can overlook the profoundly confounded and contested cultural construction of 'the American, this new man.'—Michael Meranze, University of California, Los Angeles

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