Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation

Paperback | December 1, 2014

byKariann Akemi Yokota

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What can homespun cloth, stuffed birds, quince jelly, and ginseng reveal about the formation of early American national identity? In this wide-ranging and bold new interpretation of American history and its Founding Fathers, Kariann Akemi Yokota shows that political independence from Britainfueled anxieties among the Americans about their cultural inferiority and continuing dependence on the mother country. Caught between their desire to emulate the mother country and an awareness that they lived an ocean away on the periphery of the known world, they went to great lengths to convincethemselves and others of their refinement. Taking a transnational approach to American history, Yokota examines a wealth of evidence from geography, the decorative arts, intellectual history, science, and technology to underscore that the process of "unbecoming British" was not an easy one. Indeed, the new nation struggled to define itselfeconomically, politically, and culturally in what could be called America's postcolonial period. Out of this confusion of hope and exploitation, insecurity and vision, a uniquely American identity emerged.

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What can homespun cloth, stuffed birds, quince jelly, and ginseng reveal about the formation of early American national identity? In this wide-ranging and bold new interpretation of American history and its Founding Fathers, Kariann Akemi Yokota shows that political independence from Britainfueled anxieties among the Americans about th...

Kariann Akemi Yokota is Associate Professor of History at University of Colorado Denver.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.02 × 6.1 × 1.18 inPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190217871

ISBN - 13:9780190217877

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation1. A New Nation on the Margins of the Global Map2. A Culture of Insecurity: Americans in a Transatlantic World of Goods3. A Revolution Revived: American and British Encounters in Canton, China4. Sowing the Seeds of Postcolonial Discontent: The Transatlantic Exchange of American Nature and British Patronage5. "A Great Curiosity": The American Quest for Racial Refinement and KnowledgeConclusion: The Long Goodbye: Breaking with the British in Nineteenth Century AmericaNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Envisaging the history of the early American republic in terms of the problems faced by other societies emerging from imperial domination is a project that fulfills the current imperative to refute claims to American "exceptionalism." The new America can be shown to have been beset by thetravails of an emerging postcolonial society as many others were later to be. Yet, as the rich material presented by Yokota and the probing questions that she raises abundantly demonstrate, the American case does not fit easily into such a mold." --P.J. Marshall, Common Knowledge