Americomania and the French Revolution Debate in Britain, 1789-1802
By: Wil Verhoeven (author)Hardback
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This book explores the evolution of British identity and participatory politics in the 1790s. Wil Verhoeven argues that in the course of the French Revolution debate in Britain, the idea of 'America' came to represent for the British people the choice between two diametrically opposed models of social justice and political participation. Yet the American Revolution controversy in the 1790s was by no means an isolated phenomenon. The controversy began with the American crisis debate of the 1760s and 1770s, which overlapped with a wider Enlightenment debate about transatlantic utopianism. All of these debates were based in the material world on the availability of vast quantities of cheap American land. Verhoeven investigates the relation that existed throughout the eighteenth century between American soil and the discourse of transatlantic utopianism: between America as a physical, geographical space, and 'America' as a utopian/dystopian idea-image.
Wil Verhoeven is Chair of the American Studies Department and Professor of American Culture and Cultural Theory at the University of Groningen, and is Visiting Scholar in the American Studies Department at Brown University, Rhode Island. He is the author of Gilbert Imlay: Citizen of the World (2008), and the editor of Revolutionary Histories: Transatlantic Cultural Nationalism, 1775-1815 (2002), Epistolary Histories: Letters, Fiction, Culture (with Amanda Gilroy, 2000) and Revolutions and Watersheds: Transatlantic Dialogues, 1775-1815 (with Beth Dolan, 1999). He previously served as the Associate Dean for Education in the School of Humanities at the University of Groningen. He was the inaugural Charles H. Watts II Professor in the History of the Book and Historical Bibliography, an endowed visiting professorship at the John Carter Brown Library and Department of English, Brown University (2002-3).
Introduction: utopianism in practice: the American front of the French Revolution in Britain, 1789-1802; 1. 'The war of systems': print culture and the institutionalization of the political divide in the 1790s; 2. 'Cultivators of the earth': the American crisis and the emergence of the freehold farmer, 1763-83; 3. 'Rabies Agri': or, wilderness for sale; 4. 'The calculated rise of the American empire': the radicalization of American utopianism; 5. 'The mania of emigration': new philosophers in the wilderness; 6. 'The precious pearl of liberty': from Newgate Prison to Ohiopiomingo; 7. 'Come to these Arcadian regions where there is room for millions': politics for the people; 8. 'Look before you leap': the demonization of Jacobin America; 9. 'Parrying the enemy with their own weapons': dystopianism and the popular discourse of fear; Postscript. 'Mania reformation': the demise of transatlantic utopianism.
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- ID: 9781107040199
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