This chapter describes the borders of the American nation in the late nineteenth century as flexible both for those who sought entry and for those who sought exile. This was due in part to the expansion of the American economy and workforce and the growth of tourism among the middle and upper classes. At the same time, migration and resettlement became increasingly common within the country. Some of the most prominent American literature of the period was inspired by these human displacements. The writings examined in the chapter represent a variety of encounters among different types of people in the national and international crucibles where mixing, antagonism, and Darwinian struggle took place. American social life demanded a disposition of cosmopolitanism, which might be characterized as openness to other cultures and to cultural others, as well as to the global interconnectedness that such others implied. As William Dean Howells put it, “The world was once very little, and it is now very large.”
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