Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917

Front Cover
Macmillan, Apr 16, 2001 - History - 324 pages
This book is an examination of national identity in a crucial period. The United States first announced its power on the international scene at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 and first demonstrated that power during World War I. The years in between were a period of dramatic change, when the dynamics of industrialization rapidly accelerated the rate at which Americans were coming in contact with foreign peoples, both at home and abroad. In this work, the author shows how American conceptions of peoplehood, citizenship, and national identity were transformed in these crucial years by escalating economic and military involvements abroad and by the massive influx of immigrants at home. Drawing upon a diverse range of sources, not only traditional political documents, but also novels, travelogues, academic treatises, and art, he demonstrates the close relationship between immigration and expansionism. By bridging these two areas, so often left separate, he rethinks the texture of American political life in a keenly argued and persuasive history. This book shows how these years set the stage for today's attitudes and ideas about "Americanism" and about immigrants and foreign policy, from Border Watch to the Gulf War.

What people are saying - Write a review

BARBARIAN VIRTUES: The United States Encounters Foreign People at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917

User Review  - Kirkus

Jacobson (American Studies/Yale) deftly sketches the often-xenophobic US relationship with foreign peoples as it evolved through history, and the sense of a distinctive American nationhood as it ... Read full review

Barbarian virtues: the United States encounters foreign peoples at home and abroad, 1876-1917

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Though the growth and prosperity of the United States was made possible by the labor of immigrants and the availability of external markets, foreigners have often been viewed by Americans with ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2001)

Matthew Frye Jacobson, a professor of American Studies at Yale, is the author of Whiteness of a Different Color and Special Sorrows. He lives in New York City.

Bibliographic information