This essay aims at throwing light on and reflecting upon the controversial aspects of American nationalism in the antebellum period, basing its findings on the present historical literature. On this respect, the United States political system may be considered a clear example of the detachment between constitutional principles and political practice. This detachment came from an original constitutional compromise which legalized slavery as a social as well as economic phenomenon. This essay analyzes specifically the impact of the original constitutional compromise over the American nation building throughout the antebellum period. The analysis will be carried out by discussing the proslavery and antislavery discourses on national identity on the one hand and the internal and interclass conflicts spurred by the peculiar institution within the Southern States on the other. All in all, this essay will argue that until the late 50s, both proslavery and antislavery arguments were but two faces of the same national narrative in that they were based upon the same premises. The first turning point was represented by the new national narrative introduced by Lincoln, based upon what scholars have termed “progressive nationalism”. In this way, even the Southern drift toward a radicalization of the proslavery national discourse may be looked at as a reaction to the innovative national theory introduced by Republicans in the late 50s.

Bon, C., Immaginare una nazione. Origini e contraddizioni del nation-building americano, <<GIORNALE DI STORIA COSTITUZIONALE>>, 2017; 33 (1): 209-234 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/106272]

Immaginare una nazione. Origini e contraddizioni del nation-building americano

Bon, Cristina
2017

Abstract

This essay aims at throwing light on and reflecting upon the controversial aspects of American nationalism in the antebellum period, basing its findings on the present historical literature. On this respect, the United States political system may be considered a clear example of the detachment between constitutional principles and political practice. This detachment came from an original constitutional compromise which legalized slavery as a social as well as economic phenomenon. This essay analyzes specifically the impact of the original constitutional compromise over the American nation building throughout the antebellum period. The analysis will be carried out by discussing the proslavery and antislavery discourses on national identity on the one hand and the internal and interclass conflicts spurred by the peculiar institution within the Southern States on the other. All in all, this essay will argue that until the late 50s, both proslavery and antislavery arguments were but two faces of the same national narrative in that they were based upon the same premises. The first turning point was represented by the new national narrative introduced by Lincoln, based upon what scholars have termed “progressive nationalism”. In this way, even the Southern drift toward a radicalization of the proslavery national discourse may be looked at as a reaction to the innovative national theory introduced by Republicans in the late 50s.
Italiano
Bon, C., Immaginare una nazione. Origini e contraddizioni del nation-building americano, <>, 2017; 33 (1): 209-234 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/106272]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10807/106272
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