America was born in an age of political revolution throughout the Atlantic world, a period when the very definition of ‘nation’ was transforming. This episode’s guests, Benjamin E. Park, traces how Americans imagined novel forms of nationality during the country’s first five decades within the context of European discussions taking place at the same time. Focusing on three case studies – Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina – Park examines the developing practices of nationalism in three specific contexts. He argues for a more elastic connection between nationalism and the nation-state by demonstrating that ideas concerning political and cultural allegiance to a federal body developed in different ways and at different rates throughout the nation. American Nationalisms explores how ideas of nationality permeated political disputes, religious revivals, patriotic festivals, slavery debates, and even literature.
Benjamin E. Park received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is an assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University. He also spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy. His first book is American Nationalisms: Imagining Union in the Age of Revolutions, 1783-1833. His scholarship focuses on the religious, political, and cultural history of America between the Revolution and Civil War, often within an Atlantic context.