Defining Americans: nation, state, and the politics of racial mixture, 1885-1905
Prevailing understandings about what it meant to be American underwent significant changes at the turn of the 20th century. This study examines how challenges posed by racial mixture contributed to defining and redefining the boundaries of the U.S. nation and state between 1885 and 1905. Specific political and legal cases involving people and places perceived as racially mixed became sites of contestation where policymakers, press members and other participants articulated, debated and reconfigured their visions of citizenship, nationhood and statehood. Universalistic and particularistic principles became intertwined in these debates and featured in ideological perspectives that ranged across the political spectrum, including liberalism, republicanism and anarchism. The concepts of fitness for self-government, private property, and white supremacy also played controversial and critical roles in debates about racial mixture. They structured the fluctuating logics of inclusion and exclusion that ultimately determined which individuals were accepted as full members of the nation and which territories were accepted as full members of the state.
- Political science