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The Imprint of Congress$
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David R. Mayhew

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300215700

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300215700.001.0001

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Building a State and a Nation

Building a State and a Nation

(p.18) 2 Building a State and a Nation
The Imprint of Congress

David R. Mayhew

Yale University Press

This chapter analyzes three U.S. performances: the launch of a new nation, continental expansion, and national consolidation. The mid-nineteenth century, notably the 1860s, seems to have brought a spasm of special character across much of the developed or developing world. Centralizing states swung into place offering strong nationalisms, new constitutional formulas, a spirit of reform in state and economy, and a bent for commodifying property and homogenizing the rights of citizenship across entire populations. In these respects, the 1860s seem to have brought a transnational ideological high. Ensuing years brought a recession from it, as the promises and commitments of the decade wore down. In the United States, the thrusts of rights expansion lost force in the 1870s.

Keywords:   United States, continental expansion, national consolidation, nationalism, state reform, homogenization, transnational ideology

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