"The nations of the Americas, although the oldest and the most multiethnic, have been marginal to the scholarship on the nineteenth-century construction of nation-states. The international cast of historians, who in this outstanding collection establish the Americas as an especially rich field to investigate nations and nationalism, brings these nations into the discussion, making comparisons possible and opening yet more terrains for further inquiry. This book not only illuminates the dynamics and meanings of nationalism but also reveals the gifts bestowed by the modern nation-state and the violence and tragedies wrought by this form of human solidarity. It is certain that Nationalism in the New World will stimulate a whole cycle of new scholarship on nationalism and on the Americas as a scholarly field."
—Thomas Bender, editor of Rethinking American History in a Global Age
The contributors to this volume "Americanize" the conversation on nationalism. They ask how the countries of the Americas fit into the larger world of nations and in what ways they present distinctive forms of nationhood. Such questions are particularly important because, as the editors write, "the American nations that came into being in the wake of revolutions that shook the Atlantic world beginning in 1776 provided models of what the modern world might become."
American nations were among the first nation-states to emerge on the world stage. As former colonies with multiethnic populations, American nations could not logically rest their claim to nationhood on ancient bonds of blood and history. Out of a world of empires and colonies the independent states of the Americas forged new nations based on a varied mix of modern civic ideals instead of primordial myths, on ethnic and religious diversity instead of common descent, and on future hopes rather than ancient roots.
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