The Liberty of Strangers: Making the American Nation

Paperback | February 15, 2006

byDesmond King

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Spanning the entire twentieth century and encompassing immigration policies, the nationalistic fallout from both world wars, the civil rights movement, and nation-building efforts in the postcolonial era, The Liberty of Strangers advances a major new interpretation of American nationalism andthe future prospects for diverse democracies. Tracing how Americans have confronted and relinquished, but mostly clung to group identities over the past century, Desmond King here debunks one of the guiding assumptions of American nationhood, namely that group distinction and identification wouldgradually dissolve over time, creating a "postethnic" nation. The divisions in American society have consistently proven themselves too strong to dissolve and, for better or for worse, the often-disparaged politics of multiculturalism are here to stay, with profound implications for America'sdemocracy.

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Spanning the entire twentieth century and encompassing immigration policies, the nationalistic fallout from both world wars, the civil rights movement, and nation-building efforts in the postcolonial era, The Liberty of Strangers advances a major new interpretation of American nationalism andthe future prospects for diverse democracies...

Author and editor of numerous books, most recently Making Americans: Immigration, Race, and the Origins of the Diverse Democracy, Desmond King is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government and Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 5.71 × 8.82 × 0.59 inPublished:February 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195306430

ISBN - 13:9780195306439

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Table of Contents

1. 'One People' NationalismPart I2. How to Become an American3. Why Not All Groups are Equal4. Choosing New Members: The Rise of Immigration Restriction5. The Drive for Authentic Americans: World War I NationalismPart II6. World War II and the Challenge to Assimilation7. America Abroad at Home: International Pressures and Nationhood8. Remaking the American NationConclusion

Editorial Reviews

"King has written a thoughtful and comprehensive historical analysis of cultural and political constructions of American nationalism. In The Liberty of Strangers he examines how the U.S. relied on variations on the theme of individualism to construct a myth of "one nation", whether through itseducational systems, cultural events, or immigration restrictions, with particular attention to the dynamics set in motion by war and by foreign policy concerns. King argues that American history is not a steady march toward liberal individualism, and that the various attempts to impose ethnic andracial homogeneity and implement assimilation never succeeded in rooting out racial and ethnic divisions and in some ways merely enhanced them. He argues that this tension may in fact be a defining feature of American political development. Students of political development and American politicswill learn a great deal from this wide-ranging work." --Tali Mendelberg, author of The Race Card