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Shifting GroundsNationalism and the American South, 1848–1865$
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Paul Quigley

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199735488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735488.001.0001

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Nationalism in the Antebellum American South

(p.16) 1 Foundations
Shifting Grounds

Quigley Paul

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes how antebellum white southerners understood nationalism, both in abstract terms and in the case of the United States. Like their compatriots across the United States, white southerners were enthusiastic nationalists between the Revolution and the Civil War. They supported the divinely-ordained separation of the world into nations, and although they felt Americans had a unique global mission as pioneers of democratic citizenship, they also sought to align their own nation with the emerging transatlantic model of romantic nationalism. They defined American national identity and citizenship with particular reference to Christianity, democratic political principles, and the commemoration of the American Revolution. While American nationalism was robust, it was neither complete, fixed, nor definitively moored to the Union. The problems of American nationalism, especially the structural problem of federalism, allowed the development of alternative visions of allegiance and identity.

Keywords:   nationalism, citizenship, transatlantic, romantic nationalism, American national identity, federalism, South, commemoration, American Revolution

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