Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Language of Legitimacy: Interventionism and German-American Nativism in U.S. Political Rhetoric, 1850–1876
by Beckmann, Sterling, M.A., Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 2019, 108; 27665629
Abstract (Summary)

Through examinations of the exiled Hungarian Governor Louis Kossuth as well as St. Louis’s German population, my research identifies several rhetorical methods utilized by foreign-born and immigrant groups to present themselves as “Americans” during a time in which nativist groups vehemently argued against their cultural inclusion. Furthermore, my research also indicates a possible trend utilized by German-American newspapers when responding to political challenges by nativist media: the writing/translating of English-language columns alongside their traditional German coverage. Broadening their audience in order to counter false narratives or address topics not being tackled by other sources, German media utilized bilingual reporting to capture the attention (and hopefully minds) of their native American audience, and in doing so subverted the tools of assimilation seen by nativists as the “correct” path of Americanization by their immigrant group. My research also demonstrates both the ways in which native Americans utilized the concepts of negation and sublation to exclude German-born populations from their national standing as well as how foreign-born individuals politically responded to such tactics. When addressing aspects of assimilation, especially as it relates to culture, my research also reveals an instance in which a dominant, native-born group quickly stripped an immigrant group’s status as a “white American” once they deemed the members of that group to be too threatening to the established political systems of governance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Alexander, Erik B.
Commitee: Jack, Bryan, Miller, Jennifer
School: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Department: History
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American history
Keywords: Americanism, Assimilation, German-American, Kossuth, Print culture, St. Louis
Publication Number: 27665629
ISBN: 9781392386231
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