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Reimagined Communities: Union veterans and the reconstruction of American nationalism

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Susan-Mary Grant


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American commemoration of the Union dead and the role this played in the development of post-war American nationalism is a topic of growing interest. Those who survived, however, are too often left out of the discussion: unsettling reminders of the sectional conflict at the time, the veterans' role in the reconstruction of American nationalism was rather more ambiguous than historians have made it seem. To trace the lineaments of American national identity after the Civil War requires some assessment of the ways in which the veteran was incorporated into or detached from the home front during the war itself and, later, from post-war society. The evidence suggests that, in contrast to the ambiguity surrounding the veteran, the dead could, in many ways, be more easily accommodated by the new nationalist discourse emerging from the war. Positioning the veteran at the centre of the debate on war and nationalism, indeed, challenges the very concept of an imagined community emerging from or through civil conflict. © Journal compilation © 2008 Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grant S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nations and Nationalism

Year: 2008

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 498-519

ISSN (print): 1354-5078

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2008.00348.x


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