Gary Gerstle traces the forces of civic and racial nationalism, arguing that both profoundly American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century. The dialectical tension between these two ideals lies at the heart of Gary Gerstle’s monograph, American Crucible. Much like E. J. Hobsbawm’s analysis of the. American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century By Gary Gerstle Paperback, pages. Princeton University Press List price.

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Gerstle argues that the civil rights movement and Vietnam broke the liberal nation apart, and his analysis of this upheaval leads him to assess Reagan’s and Clinton’s attempts to resurrect nationalism.

They were committed to the civic nationalist tradition in general and to equal rights cruciboe ethnic and racial minorities in particular.

Excerpt: ‘American Crucible’

Gerstle identifies a caesura in the civil rights movement of the s in combination with the Vietnam War. The advocates of this nation espoused an expansive civic nationalist creed: Theodore Roosevelt believed a controlled mixing of races would produce this ideal. It is easy to equate racial nationalism with a quest for racial purity, as the Ku Klux Klan did in arguing that the only true Americans are those who have “Anglo-Saxon” blood coursing through their veins.

Books by Gary Gerstle. You do not currently have access to this article. A very well-written, easy to read examination of US nationalism. To write the history of a nation, then, is to be alert to this range of possibilities and to identify those which seem most important. Things have only accelerated since then with candidates increasingly asserting religious law comes before civil law.

American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century by Gary Gerstle

Our political campaigns have become dominated by this as well. Roosevelt’s vision of a hybrid and superior “American race,” strengthened by war, would inspire the social, diplomatic, and economic policies of American liberals for gersle.

Both racial and civic nationalism, then, were complex traditions, simultaneously elastic and exclusionary, capable of being altered in various ways to address new economic and political problems as they arose. Furthermore, the American state persists and has not literally collapsed into a series of regionally defined separatist nations.

Many authors have looked at this topic from a number of different perspectives. The Best Books of Roosevelt was constantly seeking situations in which different races of Americans could be brought together in ametican, mixed with each other, and molded into one people and one race.

Du Bois and other black scholars had been making this argument for decades, of course. Of course, civic nationalism evolved throughout the 20th century to the point, possibly as gersyle as the New Deal, where leading liberals like FDR and LBJ were willing to extend the membership in the nation to any race that adopted the American creed.


Most notable was the way he treated the reputation of black cavalryman who had fought in the Spanish-American War. As late as the s, members of the House of Representatives felt no shame in declaring on the House floor that the American “pioneer race” was being gerstlle by “a mongrel one,” or in admiring a scientist who told them that Americans “had been so cruccible with the idea of democracy.

While most of the points it makes seem convincing, it does not go into as much detail as the reader would like. Books Featured In This Story. To the contrary, it tore apart the nation to gefstle Theodore Roosevelt and World War I had given birth.

But because they were enshrined in the American nation’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Schlesinger and others have argued that they have marked something distinctive about the American people and their polity. Jun 21, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: Byneither the civic nor racial traditions of American nationalism retained enough integrity to serve as rallying points for those who gerrstle to put the nation back together.

Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism talks about imagined communities bound together by limited borders and crycible belief in shared experience. The notion that race might have been constitutive of American democracy, welfare policy, the labor movement, and other progressive developments rarely surfaced. Gary Gerstle traces the forces of civic and racial nationalism, arguing that both profoundly shaped our society.

However, this was also the time of conservative resurgence in defense of Jim Crow, inner-city white resistance to black mobility, and a virtual race war against the Japanese. Other editions – View all American Crucible: This ability to draw on a wide range of cultural artifacts gerstlee events—from Frank Capra films and the Rosenberg executions to the effect of the Black Power movement on African-American GIs in Vietnam—is matched by his portrayals of telling moments in U.

Aiwha Ong in Flexible Citizenship takes a critical look at the view Americans have of what constitutes good citizenship and terstle that manifests itself in the way instruments of governmentality interacts with new gertle, and Gary Gerstle, in the book I will be reviewing here, American Crucible: Aborting the New Nationalism.

In this book, I argue that the pursuit of these two powerful and contradictory ideals — the civic and the racial — has decisively shaped the history of the American nation in the twentieth century. We witness the remnants of racial thinking among such liberals as FDR and LBJ; we see how Italians and Jews from Frank Capra to the creators of Superman perpetuated the New Deal philosophy while suppressing their own ethnicity; we feel the frustrations of African-American servicemen denied the opportunity to fight for their country and the moral outrage of more recent black activists, including Martin Luther King, Jr.


Is the United States a social melting pot, as our civic creed warrants, or is full citizenship somehow reserved for those who are white and of the “right” Theodore Roosevelt, for example, celebrated racial hybridity, believing that the world’s most accomplished races — the British, the Americans, and the Australians — drew their strength from the merging together of diverse and complementary racial strains.

The Rooseveltian Nation Ascendant The Collapse of the Rooseveltian Nation. Nations can win the allegiance of their people through promises of amerjcan, prosperity, and immortality or beat them into submission through campaigns of fear and intimidation. I also examine the determined efforts, first by Reaganite conservatives and then by Clintonian liberals, to revive affection for the American nation and to launch new ccrucible projects.

In the case of the Japanese the fear was the opposite, with many believing they were gefstle and possibly superior to Americans of strictly European descent. Great amdrican for studying race and immigration relations in the US. First was his idealization of the rugged individualist; he idolized the Indian fighter, the frontiersman, and the cowboy.

Mar 01, Jack rated it liked it Shelves: During the Kettle-San Juan Hill, battles the Negro Ninth and Tenth cavalries proved to be a major asset, showing much courage and heroism and while TR showed them the respect with a toast at the end of the battle, he all but omitted their importance to the battle in his written accounts of the battle. New Deal policies also encouraged the deployment of civic nationalist discourse as a language of radical protest, thereby justifying unions and other left-leaning institutions as statements of American patriotism rather than attributing them to the subversive international conspiracies of the Cold Cgucible era.

Article PDF first page preview. Prior to the past twenty years, however, much of it tended to depict racism as the work of white southerners, the ignorant poor, and aristocratic reactionaries and others who were out of touch with the American mainstream or at least with its dominant, liberal currents. The manufacture geestle new products and the creation of new wealth generated hopes that a society of general affluence was in reach, but the inability of millions to escape industrial poverty spread despair.