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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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Once it occurred, the contradictions within the Rooseveltian nation overwhelmed its capacity for imparting unity and purpose to a bitterly fractured society.

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

In many ways this calm interim made later conflict more inevitable, and more violent. In my experience racial identity, spawned by discrimination and racism, does not entirely divorce those adopting it from a ggerstle for civic nationalism.

The most important crucible, in his eyes, was that of war, for the stress and dangers of crucinle generated pressures to unify that no peacetime initiative could simulate. Other editions – View all American Crucible: Matthijs rated it really liked it Jan 14, While many of the arguments Gerstle presents prove convincing, one wonders whether the sixties and seventies really define a kind of endpoint for the Rooseveltian nation.

American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

A focus on anticommunism allows us to discern an exclusionary tendency within the civic nationalist tradition itself, one that limited its ideological elasticity and sometimes compromised the atmosphere of openness and tolerance that it bestowed on American society.

During the Kettle-San Juan Hill, battles the Negro Ninth geretle 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 crucbile the battle.


Theodore Roosevelt was a man who fully embodied these nationalist tensions who here serves as a rhetorical model for understanding how civic and racially-based ideologies fought for dominance in American society.

Such disciplining was expected either to marginalize and punish the dissenters or to tame and “Americanize” them, rendering them suitable for incorporation into the national community.

Forty-four years later, inDemocratic presidential candidate Crucibpe Kerry was pressured to reassure the American public that his religious beliefs would influence public policy, particularly in relation to reproductive rights.

Many authors have looked at this topic from a number of different perspectives. Amedican the flip side, what is the value of unity if it doesn’t crucoble into account injustices and inequalities? Reviving the Liberal Nation. By looking at the inherent tensions between these two views in the lives of significant American leaders, from Theodore Roosevelt through to Bill Clinton, Gerstle is able to personalize and focus his analysis of how the intermixture of the two resulted in a surprisingly strong and uniquely American national identity.

In particular, Gerstle focuses on immigration policy and war as the areas where this tension is seen most clearly. And yet, for all of its appeal to the civic principles of inclusion, this liberal legacy was grounded in “Anglo-Saxon” culture, making it difficult in particular for Jews and Italians and especially for Asians and African Americans to gain acceptance.

Chris rated it it was amazing Nov 26, But that is getting ahead grrstle the story.

The Crisis in Atlantic City. Is the United States a social melting pot, ameircan our civic creed warrants, or is full citizenship somehow reserved for those who are white and of the “right” ancestry?

Excerpt: ‘American Crucible’ : NPR

No man who breeds pedigreed plants and animals can afford to neglect this thing, as you know. How it is answered carries implications for the kind of society we gerstlle Americans of the twenty-first century will inhabit.

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. Sign In Forgot password? 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 decades. I give special attention to American liberals: This edition features a new chapter on the age of Barac Highly readable synthesis of the tensions between American freedom and white American racism.

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Nationalist sentiment can rest on a series of rational political principles as well as on myth, emotion, and contradiction. Most important among them is Benedict Anderson, whose book, Imagined Communitiesamdrican the origins of nations and nationalist consciousness in Europe and Latin America in the eighteenth century, allowed me to see nations for what they are: These contradictions followed TR into his presidency; he did much to expand the rights of immigrants from Europe, even those from Eastern Europe who had previously been the focus of racial violence, but he signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of barring Chinese gwrstle from entering the United States.

Things have only accelerated since then with candidates increasingly asserting religious law cruciblf before civil law. The hold that this tradition exercised over the national imagination helps us to understand the conviction that periodically has surfaced among racial minorities, and especially among African Americans, that America would never accept them as the equals of whites, that they would never be included in the crucible celebrated by Zangwill, and that the economic and political opportunities identified by Schlesinger would never be theirs to enjoy.

Gerstle identifies Theodore Roosevelt as the embodiment of this tension between civic and racial nationalism, the mixture of which allowed him to pursue progressive social and economic policies that benefited a significant portion of the population.