Date of Award

2010

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

Advisor

Elizabeth McKillen

Second Committee Member

Nathan Godfried

Third Committee Member

Richard Judd

Abstract

According to the traditional historical narrative, the Spanish-American War of 1898 saw the culmination of the process of "sectional reunion," in which whites from the North and South gradually united in a new American nationalism only a generation removed from the Civil War and Reconstruction. This work demonstrates that, despite the rhetoric of sectional reunion which sought to unite whites from the North and South for the war effort in 1898, the South's divergent economic interests and social system meant that white southerners reacted differently to the events of 1898 and after than did their counterparts in the North. In fact, a substantial number of white southerners were opposed to U.S. intervention in Cuba in 1898, reluctant to serve in the war once the United States entered into the conflict, and then were vehemently opposed to imperial expansion after the U.S. victory in August 1898. Rather than supporting the Republican Party's vision of an expanded global role for the United States, white southerners instead had their own foreign policy ideology which looked back to traditional views such as opposition to entangling alliances and a more limited interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine. This work demonstrates that, despite a common sense of Anglo-Saxon superiority, whites from the North and South were still at odds over their past, present foreign policymaking, and the future of the republic. Far from uniting whites, the War of 1898 and the concomitant flurry of insular expansion saw competing race-based American nationalisms that would not be reconciled until World War I at the earliest.

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