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The development of the American nation has typically been interpreted in terms of its expansion through space, specifically its growth westward. In this innovative study, Thomas Allen posits time, not space, as the most significant territory of the young nation. He argues that beginning in the nineteenth century, the actual geography of the nation became less important, as Americans imagined the future as their true national territory. Allen explores how transformations in the perception of time shaped American conceptions of democratic society and modern nationhood. He focuses on three ways of imagining time: the romantic historical time that prevailed at the outset of the nineteenth century, the geological "deep time" that arose as widely read scientific works displaced biblical chronology with a new scale of millions of years of natural history, and the technology-driven "clock time" that became central to American culture by century's end. Allen analyzes cultural artifacts ranging from clocks and scientific treatises to paintings and literary narratives to show how Americans made use of these diverse ideas about time to create competing visions of American nationhood. Allen analyzes how a variety of technological and scientific transformations in the 19th century helped shape American ideas of democratic society and modern nationhood. Previous scholars have argued that modern political and economic life depends on a homogenized and rationalized sense of clock time, and the development of the nation occurred through the spatial expansion toward the West. Allen argues that time, not space, provided the most important medium for the competition of visions of national development. He looks at 3 ways of imagining time: the Romantic historical time that prevailed in the first decades of the century; geological "deep time" that grew out of scientific works that displaced Biblical chronology with a new scale of millions of years of natural history; and mechanical "clock time" that was central to the culture by the end of the century. Allen explores cultural artifacts from clocks to scientific treatises and from paintings to literary narratives to show how Americans made use of these diverse ideas about time to create competing visions of American nationhood. The development of the American nation has typically been interpreted in terms of its expansion through space, specifically its growth westward. In this innovative study, Thomas Allen posits time, not space, as the most significant territory of the young nation. He focuses on three ways of imagining time: the romantic historical time that prevailed at the outset of the nineteenth century, geological "deep time," and the technology-driven "clock time" that became central to American culture by century's end. Allen analyzes cultural artifacts ranging from clocks and scientific treatises to paintings and literary narratives to show how Americans made use of these diverse ideas about time to create competing visions of American nationhood. The development of the American nation has typically been interpreted in terms of its expansion through space, specifically its growth westward. In this innovative study, Thomas Allen posits time, not space, as the most significant territory of the young nation. He argues that beginning in the nineteenth century, the actual geography of the nation became less important, as Americans imagined the future as their true national territory. Allen explores how transformations in the perception of time shaped American conceptions of democratic society and modern nationhood. He focuses on three ways of imagining time: the romantic historical time that prevailed at the outset of the nineteenth century, the geological "deep time" that arose as widely read scientific works displaced biblical chronology with a new scale of millions of years of natural history, and the technology-driven "clock time" that became central to American culture by century's end. Allen analyzes cultural artifacts ranging from clocks and scientific treatises to paintings and literary narratives to show how Americans made use of these diverse ideas about time to create competing visions of American nationhood.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents, Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-ix
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiii
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  1. Introduction: Time and Modern Nationhood
  2. pp. 1-16
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  1. Chapter 1. The Future Republic
  2. pp. 17-58
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  1. Chapter 2. Material Time
  2. pp. 59-113
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  1. Chapter 3. Clockwork Nation
  2. pp. 114-145
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  1. Chapter 4. Time in the Land
  2. pp. 146-185
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  1. Chapter 5. Emerson’s Deep Democracy
  2. pp. 186-216
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  1. Conclusion: The Ends of Time
  2. pp. 217-224
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 225-249
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 251-266
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 267-275
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469603827
Related ISBN
9780807831793
MARC Record
OCLC
779181460
Pages
296
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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