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148 CanadianReview of AmericanStudies Revuecanadzenned etudesamericaines elements qui ajoutent ala qualite indubitable de cette etude qui, faut-il le preciser, repose sur un large eventail de sources primaires (Congressional Record, Foreign Relations of the United States, New York Times, archives de Arthur Vandenberg et John Foster Dulles, etc.). Le lecteur peut toutefois setonner de !'absence de sources latino-americaines en bibliographie, ainsi que de la non-consultation des archives de George Kennan (Universite Princeton ) etant donne le role central de ce dernier clans la demonstration de !'auteur . Force est de constater par ailleurs la presence de repetitions d'information ici et la comme en temoignent les seules pages 185 et 162. Bernard Lemelin Universite Laval David Waldstreicher. In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776-1820. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Pp. ix + 364 and illustrations. The modern environmental movement has made great capital out of the slogan "think globally, act locally," which encourages people to conceive of the environment in the broadest possible terms but to direct their efforts towards effecting change in their own communities. David Waldstreicher has modified this maxim slightly in this detailed dissection of the making of American nationalism. In his view, the slogan for early American nationalists might well have been "think nationally, act globally." Scholars of nationalism have long been interested in determining its origins: at what point in a nation's history, and for what reasons, do individuals begin to see themselves as members of a greater collectivity that exists over and above their own local community? In this impeccably researched and gracefully written book, Waldstreicher suggests that the American nation and American nationalism emerged at the same time, in the course of spirited public debates over the meaning of such things as citizenship , the revolution, the constitution, and virtue. Was the constitution the "ideological fulfilment of the American Revolution, or a repudiation of the Revolution's democratic and local impulses" (53)? Who were the "citizens" in post-Revolutionary America, and who were simply the "people" (38)? Who was "virtuous" in the new republic, and how was that virtue revealed Book Reviews 149 (71)? How one answered these questions determined one's brand of nationalism , and vice versa, and those answers were vigorously debated in public events that were highly politicized. Indeed, Waldstreicher carefully demolishes the notion that Jeffersonian America was a pristine world in which patriotism flourished without politics. Instead, national events likethe Fourth of July were marked in very partisan ways, and indeed it was the way in which early Americans celebrated and expressed nationalism that fostered their party rivalries; asWaldstreicher puts it, "they became partisans through their rights of nationhood" (202). To understand the nature of those celebrations, Waldstreicher relies heavily on reports that were published in contemporary journals and newspapers, and he is to be particularly commended for using them so effectively. Historians have traditionally relied on such sources for descriptions of public celebrations and parades, but have rarely gone beyond this use to ask the next logical question: what impact did the reporting of those events have? For Waldstreicher, this is a key question, for it was press coverage which transformed the local into the national. Accounts of celebrations in one city would be printed in newspapers in a distant city, and would then influence the character of celebrations there. And so we have an early variant of something that most people assume to be peculiar to the modern age of electronic media: the ability of press accounts of incidents, rather than the incidents themselves, to influence the course of events far away. In his determination to uncover reciprocal lines of nationalist cause and effect, Waldstreicher occasionally oversteps himself. He argues that expressions of intense regionalism, for example in New England, the South, or the West, were in fact nationalist forms of discourse in that they all claimed that their own regions embodied the true essence of the nation. For example, he observes that "New England Federalists never gave up their claim to embody the nation, no matter what came out of Washington" (262). Similarly, southerners claimed that Virginia was the real cradle of the nation, while westerners insisted that...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 148-150
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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