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Warring for AmericaCultural Contests in the Era of 1812$
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Nicole Eustace and Fredrika J. Teute

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469631516

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.001.0001

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Military Service and Racial Subjectivity in the War Narratives of James Roberts and Isaac Hubbell

Military Service and Racial Subjectivity in the War Narratives of James Roberts and Isaac Hubbell

Chapter:
(p.250) Military Service and Racial Subjectivity in the War Narratives of James Roberts and Isaac Hubbell
Source:
Warring for America
Author(s):

James M. Greene

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631516.003.0007

This essay explores how racist thought became tied to the history of early US political violence through the analysis of two narratives of the War of 1812, one written by a supporter of slavery and the other by an advocate of African American equality. It argues that divisions among the soldiers in the War of 1812 provided a symbol of the perpetual instability faced by a nation founded in revolutionary violence. In response, a discourse of white supremacy and racial purity would be remembered in the antebellum era as the source of affiliation between men that could balance this volatility. As they illustrate a cultural effort to define legitimate expressions of political violence as the exclusive right of a sovereign community of white men, these narratives reveal how racial divisions obscured the similar forms of exploitation experienced by both white soldiers and enslaved blacks in the service of an expanding nation state.

Keywords:   James Roberts, Isaac Hubbell, racial contrast, white male supremacy, racial purity, cultural fantasy, valorization, American citizen-soldier, racist discourse, nationalist history

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