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Title:"They Have Made a Nation": Confederates and the Creation of Confederate Nationalism
Author(s):Binnington, Ian
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burton, Orville Vernon
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Abstract:This research revolves around questions of nationalism and identity, broadly construed, cultural iconography and the role of symbols in identity formation, and the place of the American Civil War in the development of that nation. This dissertation starts from the premise that nationalism in nineteenth century America operated as a collection of symbols, of signifiers into which citizens and slaves could invest meaning and understanding. Not everyone embraced the same symbols or gave them the same meaning, and the road to an American identity was not an uncontested journey, it was one of struggle, political conflict, and ultimately bloody Civil War. This dissertation approaches the problem from a case-study perspective, dealing with some of the most important symbols used in the Confederacy to create a sense of nationalism: the Confederate constitutions, Confederate treasury notes, wartime Confederate literature, and the role of the military in symbolizing the Confederate nation. Taken altogether, the text of Confederate nationalism represents the creation of a "mythic present." In a sense all nationalisms speak to a glorified past, to a Golden Age, to an idyllic picture of national strength, honor, and unity. This historic past is usually fundamentally ahistorical, based on a vision of what should be true, rather than what actually was. This Confederate "mythic present" had a number of constituent parts: prominent among these were the "innocent Southron," the "demon Yankee other," the "silent slave," and a sense of "true Americanism."
Issue Date:2004
Description:278 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3160865
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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