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One nation: cosmopolitanism and the making of American identity from Madison to Lincoln

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Title
One nation: cosmopolitanism and the making of American identity from Madison to Lincoln
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Title
Cosmopolitanism and the making of American identity from Madison to Lincoln
Name (ID = NAME001); (type = personal)
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Keck
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Aaron Michael
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Aaron Michael Keck
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author
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Gordon
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Advisory Committee
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Gordon Schochet
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chair
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Bronner
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Stephen
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Advisory Committee
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Stephen Bronner
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Tichenor
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Daniel
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Advisory Committee
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Daniel Tichenor
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Schultz
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David
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Advisory Committee
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David Schultz
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outside member
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Rutgers University
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degree grantor
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
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theses
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2008
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2008-10
Language
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English
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electronic
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application/pdf
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ix, 321 pages
Abstract
My dissertation traces the belief that Americans are united in solidarity primarily in cosmopolitan terms--that is, by virtue of their shared humanity. Though scholars rarely identify "shared humanity" as a source of American solidarity, I find that many seminal figures in U.S. history appealed for solidarity on precisely these grounds.
The question of solidarity--the feeling of mutual affinity between members of a community, long recognized as essential to a free society--has always been central to American political discourse. Solidarity seems to require homogeneity, a "shared characteristic" from which it can spring; but because Americans have always been conscious of their diversity, the source of that homogeneity has always been an open question. Recent flaps over "multiculturalism" and immigration are only the newest iterations of a centuries-old debate. Casting the conflict in terms of a question of scope, I identify six competing "circles" of solidarity, ranging from sub-national attachments, which bind us to some but not all Americans, to wide transnational affinities, which bind us to Americans and non-Americans alike. Cosmopolitanism, the widest circle of all, has long been neglected; but it would have had strong appeal to those who believed, as many did, that Americans were united by little else.
In the second half of the dissertation, I turn my attention to four of the most "supremely American" antebellum political thinkers: James Madison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Abraham Lincoln. Often characterized as a mere pluralist, Madison in fact was a committed republican who recognized the need for solidarity, but also took seriously the common belief that Americans had only their humanity in common. Madison thus worked to develop sustainable republican institutions for an extremely wide "sphere" of society, repeatedly arguing throughout the Constitutional debates that republicanism grew stronger as the scope of solidarity grew wider. Picking up this thread, Emerson and Whitman developed a cosmopolitan "story of peoplehood," culminating in Whitman's original Leaves of Grass, that grounded American unity in an all-encompassing human "Over-Soul." Lincoln, simultaneously, concluded that the cosmopolitan moment implicit in the Declaration of Independence was the proper source of "national" solidarity.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 299-320).
Subject (ID = SUBJ1); (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Political Science
Subject (ID = SUBJ2); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Cosmopolitanism--United States
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Title
Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore19991600001
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http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.17509
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ETD_1251
Location
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3DR2VT8
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Name
Aaron Keck
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Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
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Author Agreement License
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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