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Exporting the racial republic: African colonization, national citizenship, and the transformation of U.S. expansion, 1776-1864

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Title: Exporting the racial republic: African colonization, national citizenship, and the transformation of U.S. expansion, 1776-1864
Author(s): Mills, Brandon
Director of Research: Hoganson, Kristin L.; Roediger, David R.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Hoganson, Kristin L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Roediger, David R.; Burton, Antoinette M.; Hoxie, Frederick E.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): race imperialism citizenship United States African American Native American
Abstract: The effort to create a colony of African Americans on the west coast of Africa was one of the most celebrated and influential movements in the United States during the first half of the 19th century. While historians have often viewed African colonization through the lens of domestic anti-slavery politics, colonization grew from an imperial impulse which promised to transform the identities of black colonists and indigenous Africans by helping them to build a democratic nation from the foundation of a settler colony. By proposing that persons of African descent could eventually become self-governing subjects, the liberal framework behind colonization offered the possibility of black citizenship rights, but only within racially homogenous nation-states, which some proponents of colonization imagined might lead to a “United States of Africa.” This dissertation examines how the notion of expanding democratic ideals through the export of racial nationhood was crucial to the appeal of colonization. It reveals how colonization surfaced in several crucial debates about race, citizenship, and empire in the antebellum United States by examining discussions about African Americans’ revolutionary claims to political rights, the bounds of US territorial expansion, the removal of native populations in North America, and the racialization of national citizenship, both at home and abroad. By examining African colonization from these perspectives, this dissertation argues that the United States’ efforts to construct a liberal democracy defined by white racial identity were directly connected to the nation’s emerging identity as a defender and exporter of political liberty throughout the world.
Issue Date: 2011-08-26
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Brandon Mills
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-26
Date Deposited: 2011-08

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