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We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple : Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism

By: Dorsey, Leroy G.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Publisher: Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 2013Description: 1 online resource (233 p.).ISBN: 9780817387310.Subject(s): African Americans -- Cultural assimilation -- History | Americanization -- History | Immigrants -- United States -- History | Indians of North America -- Cultural assimilation -- History | National characteristics, American | Rhetoric -- Political aspects -- History -- 19th century | Rhetoric -- Political aspects -- History -- 20th century | Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919 -- Political and social views | United States -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects | United States -- Race relations -- Political aspectsGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple : Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of AmericanismDDC classification: 973.91 | 973.91/1092 | 973.911092 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Roosevelt's Americanism and the Myth of Origin; 2. Forging Americanism on the Frontier: Immigrants and The Winning of the West; 3. Red into White: Native Americans and Americanism; 4. Shaping the African American Image: Americanism and the "Negro Problem"; 5. From Hero to Traitor to Good Citizen: Americanism and the Campaign against the Hyphen; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliographic Essay; Bibliography; Index
Summary: The turn of the 20th century represented one of the most chaotic periods in the nation's history, as immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans struggled with their roles as Americans while white America feared their encroachments on national identity. This book examines Theodore Roosevelt's public rhetoric-speeches, essays, and narrative histories-as he attempted to craft one people out of many. Leroy G. Dorsey observes that Roosevelt's solution to the problem appeared straightforward: everyone could become "Americans, pure and simple" if they embraced his notion of "Americanism." Roosevelt grounded his idea of Americanism in myth, particularly the frontier myth-a heroic combination of individual strength and character. When nonwhites and immigrants demonstrated these traits, they would become true Americans, earning an exalted status that they had heretofore been denied. Dorsey's analysis illuminates how Roosevelt's rhetoric achieved a number of delicate, if problematic, balancing acts. Roosevelt gave his audiences the opportunity to accept a national identity that allowed "some" room for immigrants and nonwhites, while reinforcing their status as others, thereby reassuring white Americans of their superior place in the nation. Roosevelt's belief in an ordered and unified nation did not overwhelm his private racist attitudes, Dorsey argues, but certainly competed with them. Despite his private sentiments, he recognized that racist beliefs and rhetoric were divisive and bad for the nation's progress. The resulting message he chose to propagate was thus one of a rhetorical, if not literal, melting pot. By focusing on Roosevelt's rhetorical constructions of national identity, as opposed to his personal exploits or his role as a policy maker, We Are All Americans offers new insights into Roosevelt's use of public discourse to bind the nation together duringone of the most polarized  periods in its history.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
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E757 | E757 .D67 2007 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=1458553 Available EBL1458553

Contents; Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. Roosevelt's Americanism and the Myth of Origin; 2. Forging Americanism on the Frontier: Immigrants and The Winning of the West; 3. Red into White: Native Americans and Americanism; 4. Shaping the African American Image: Americanism and the "Negro Problem"; 5. From Hero to Traitor to Good Citizen: Americanism and the Campaign against the Hyphen; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliographic Essay; Bibliography; Index

The turn of the 20th century represented one of the most chaotic periods in the nation's history, as immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans struggled with their roles as Americans while white America feared their encroachments on national identity. This book examines Theodore Roosevelt's public rhetoric-speeches, essays, and narrative histories-as he attempted to craft one people out of many. Leroy G. Dorsey observes that Roosevelt's solution to the problem appeared straightforward: everyone could become "Americans, pure and simple" if they embraced his notion of "Americanism." Roosevelt grounded his idea of Americanism in myth, particularly the frontier myth-a heroic combination of individual strength and character. When nonwhites and immigrants demonstrated these traits, they would become true Americans, earning an exalted status that they had heretofore been denied. Dorsey's analysis illuminates how Roosevelt's rhetoric achieved a number of delicate, if problematic, balancing acts. Roosevelt gave his audiences the opportunity to accept a national identity that allowed "some" room for immigrants and nonwhites, while reinforcing their status as others, thereby reassuring white Americans of their superior place in the nation. Roosevelt's belief in an ordered and unified nation did not overwhelm his private racist attitudes, Dorsey argues, but certainly competed with them. Despite his private sentiments, he recognized that racist beliefs and rhetoric were divisive and bad for the nation's progress. The resulting message he chose to propagate was thus one of a rhetorical, if not literal, melting pot. By focusing on Roosevelt's rhetorical constructions of national identity, as opposed to his personal exploits or his role as a policy maker, We Are All Americans offers new insights into Roosevelt's use of public discourse to bind the nation together duringone of the most polarized  periods in its history.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Except for the phrase itself, which reverberates throughout the volume, there is nothing pure or simple in this ironically titled rhetorical study. Dorsey (communication, Texas A&M Univ.) focuses on Roosevelt as a "broker of national identity" who used his speaking and writing to articulate a vision of Americanism palatable to all, deliberately constructed to ease the social tensions of his day. According to the author, Roosevelt's rhetoric of Americanism provided reassurance to the cultural mainstream while it delineated for outsiders the characteristics necessary to "earn" a place within US society. Dorsey depicts Roosevelt as one who shared many of the prevailing prejudices of established elites, but who was nonetheless sympathetic to the plight of new immigrants, American Indians, and African Americans--all of whom he sought to reconcile with US society as a whole. The author concludes by exploring connections between Roosevelt's mythic ideals and contemporary questions surrounding immigration, cultural diversity, and US identity. Dorsey's historical interpretation is at times overly reliant on secondary sources, and the text is in places needlessly repetitious. Nonetheless, on the whole, his analysis of Roosevelt's rhetoric is commendably balanced and provocative. Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. A. D. Mullen Westmont College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Leroy G. Dorsey is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University and author of The Presidency and Rhetorical Leadership .

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