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Loyal Subjects

Bonds of Nation, Race, and Allegiance in Nineteenth-Century America

Elizabeth Duquette

Publication Year: 2010

When one nation becomes two, or when two nations become one, what does national affiliation mean or require? Elizabeth Duquette answers this question by demonstrating how loyalty was used during the U.S. Civil War to define proper allegiance to the Union. For Northerners during the war, and individuals throughout the nation after Appomattox, loyalty affected the construction of national identity, moral authority, and racial characteristics.

Loyal Subjects considers how the Civil War complicated the cultural value of emotion, especially the ideal of sympathy. Through an analysis of literary works written during and after the conflict-from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Chiefly About War Matters" through Henry James's The Bostonians and Charles Chestnutt's "The Wife of His Youth," to the Pledge of Allegiance and W.E.B. Du Bois's John Brown, among many others-Duquette reveals that although American literary criticism has tended to dismiss the Civil War's impact, postwar literature was profoundly shaped by loyalty.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

I am grateful for the many people and institutions that have supported me over the years, and for the opportunity to acknowledge them in print. A fellowship at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) at the University of Illinois let me develop an observation into...

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pp. 1-16

Tens of thousands of American children recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time on October 21, 1892. Planned to correspond with the dedication ceremony for the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago, the Pledge of Allegiance was one part of a pedagogical program designed...

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Chapter 1: Loyalty, Oaths, and the Nation

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pp. 17-60

When he signs the contract with Captains Bildad and Peleg, Ishmael consents to join the Pequod’s crew, assuming a share of the responsibilities and earning a percentage of the profits. Through this scene, and its protracted haggling over what Ishmael will earn on the voyage, Herman...

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Chapter 2: One Big Happy Family, Again?

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pp. 61-99

“The country is weary of being cheated with plays upon words,” observed James Russell Lowell at the start of the Civil War.1 “We all declare for liberty,” Abraham Lincoln told a presumably wearier Baltimore audience in 1864, “but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.”2...

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Chapter 3: Pledging Allegiance in Henry James

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pp. 100-136

In the 1880s, readers and theatergoers fell in love with the reunion romance. 1 Unlike the novels examined in the previous chapter, the stories that held American audiences captive were far from ambivalent about the promise of romantic love. Not only did they heartily embrace the idea of...

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Chapter 4: Loyalty’s Slaves

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pp. 137-178

A cartoon published in the Chicago Inter-Ocean on May 30, 1898, shows two soldiers on a pedestal engraved in bold black letters with the word “loyalty” (fig. 6). The man on the left carries a U.S.A. ’61 canteen, identifying him as a Union veteran; his companion, mounting the pedestal...

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Chapter 5: Philosophies of Loyalty

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pp. 179-218

In 1905, Josiah Royce, professor of philosophy at Harvard University, urged members of the Chicago and the New York Ethical societies to reflect on a perennial and intractable social problem—the problem of race. “Is it a ‘yellow peril,’ a ‘black peril,’ or perhaps, after all, is it rather some...

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pp. 219-222

There is no denying that the Civil War was a pivotal moment in American history. Emancipation and national consolidation, important discoveries in medicine and technology, the reorganization of economic practices, and the institution of the income tax, to name only a few, all date from the war. As a literary scholar, I might add to this list the rise...


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pp. 223-262


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pp. 263-276

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813551128
E-ISBN-10: 0813551129
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547800

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 8 illustrations.
Publication Year: 2010