Being American in Europe, 1750–1860
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Cover, Title Page
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I have been working on this book for a while. I am glad to have at long last the opportunity to thank the many people and organizations that helped me see it to fruition. My longest- lasting debt is to the Department of History at the University of Florida and to the friends and colleagues I made there, whose fingerprints are all...
Routes of Four American Travelers in Europe
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In 1844 Harry McCall, a ne’er- do- well Philadelphian making the Grand Tour of Europe, wrote to tell his cousin Peter what his travels had taught him about Rome and the Romans. He was not impressed. “[W]e have no sympathies with these people,” he explained. “We are not of them—and a great change must take place before...
1. “English association,” 1750–1783
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Like many colonials, Benjamin Franklin had mixed feelings toward Great Britain. He had nothing but praise for English culture, Protestantism, and the common law. He hoped that Britain would not oppress the colonies but, “like an affectionate parent,” nurture their liberty and prosperity. Yet Franklin feared that the very features that made him...
2. “The blows my republican principles receive are forcible,” 1783–1820
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Having achieved independence, Americans had to redefine their relationship to Eu rope, and especially to Great Britain. Many people were uneasy about a connection of any sort. The young republic’s geopolitical situation was tenuous. An enormous but sparsely settled territory, the United States confronted a number of dilemmas: rivals...
3. “What we Anglo-Americans understand by the significant word comfort,” 1821–1850
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Between 1820 and 1860 the United States became middle class.1 In some respects the middle class’s rise drove a wedge between Europe and the American republic. Middling Americans cherished the “egalitarian myth” that maintained that any man could attain independence and even prosperity through hard work. Americans contrasted...
4. “The manifold advantages resulting from our glorious Union,” 1840s–1861
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Travelers were fascinated by the ways Europe did and did not seem to be joining them in embracing a middle- class culture. They also kept a close eye on political developments in the Old World. Since 1789, Americans had hoped that Eu rope would throw off secular and religious despotisms, adopt republican governments, and recognize the rights...
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Thinking about American identity before the Civil War requires situating the United States within Europe an civilization. We should take our cue from transatlantic travelers, who insisted on doing so. Americans were receptive to Europe an opinion on matters great and small. Antislavery travelers counted on that openness when they pleaded...
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Essay on Sources
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In this book, I set out to understand what ordinary Americans from the era of the American Revolution through the antebellum period thought about their travels in Europe. To that end I concentrated on manuscript sources— diaries and letters— and now- obscure published accounts. Of course, the women and men whose views this book investigates...
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Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 1 map
Publication Year: 2013