Nationalism in nineteenth-century America operated through a collectionof symbols, signifiers citizens could invest with meaning and understanding. In ConfederateVisions, Ian Binnington examines the roots of Confederate nationalism by analyzing some ofits most important symbols: Confederate constitutions, treasury notes, wartime literature, and therole of the military in symbolizing the Confederate nation. Nationalisms tend toconstruct glorified pasts, idyllic pictures of national strength, honor, and unity, based on visionsof what should have been rather than what actually was. Binnington considers the ways in which theConfederacy was imagined by antebellum Southerners employing intertwined mythic concepts-the",Worthy Southron,", the ",Demon Yankee,", the ",Silent Slave",-and a sense of shared history thatconstituted a distinctive Confederate Americanism. The Worthy Southron, the constructed Confederateself, was imagined as a champion of liberty, counterposed to the Demon Yankee other, a fanaticalabolitionist and enemy of Liberty. The Silent Slave was a companion to the vocal Confederate self,loyal and trusting, reliable and honest. The creation of American nationalidentity was fraught with struggle, political conflict, and bloody Civil War. ConfederateVisions examines literature, newspapers and periodicals, visual imagery, and formal statedocuments to explore the origins and development of wartime Confederatenationalism.
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