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The Threat of Consolidation: States' Rights and American Discourses of Nation and Empire in the Nineteenth Century

The Threat of Consolidation: States' Rights and American Discourses of Nation and Empire in... <p>Abstract:</p><p>A paradox of U.S. history has been Americans&apos; commitment to limiting the power of their national government—often articulated as a defense of states&apos; rights—amid that same government&apos;s rise to a continental and then world power. Connecting nineteenth-century debates over federalism with the intertwined discourses of nation and empire, this essay explores that contradiction by examining how states&apos; rights advocates used the term "consolidation" to critique the emerging concept of the nation-state. The essay argues that critics of consolidation offered a vision of American expansion organized around the principle of divided sovereignty as the best means for governing a heterogeneous collection of territories and peoples. In this respect, states&apos; rights provided Americans committed to a self-image as the world&apos;s leading democratic republic with a roadmap for joining the fraternity of empires via a rhetoric ostensibly aimed at preventing tyranny by the center.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Threat of Consolidation: States&apos; Rights and American Discourses of Nation and Empire in the Nineteenth Century

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 9 (4) – Dec 5, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>A paradox of U.S. history has been Americans&apos; commitment to limiting the power of their national government—often articulated as a defense of states&apos; rights—amid that same government&apos;s rise to a continental and then world power. Connecting nineteenth-century debates over federalism with the intertwined discourses of nation and empire, this essay explores that contradiction by examining how states&apos; rights advocates used the term "consolidation" to critique the emerging concept of the nation-state. The essay argues that critics of consolidation offered a vision of American expansion organized around the principle of divided sovereignty as the best means for governing a heterogeneous collection of territories and peoples. In this respect, states&apos; rights provided Americans committed to a self-image as the world&apos;s leading democratic republic with a roadmap for joining the fraternity of empires via a rhetoric ostensibly aimed at preventing tyranny by the center.</p>

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Dec 5, 2019

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