U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policies Essay
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Far from being contrite, Southerners more emphatically held to the perceived, innate superiority of their race and breeding, comparing themselves to Biblical patriarchs as a means of validating these perceptions and justifying slavery (432). If Perry's journey had demonstrated Northern hubris, Stowe's novel generated its Southern equivalent.
Then, there was an ironic unification of the British and the Americans in the development of Samuel Colt's revolver in these years. While the new gun was proving remarkably effective in aiding American conquest of Native American territories, it meant more than this; it was evidence of Anglo-Saxon superiority, which inspired the British as well (424). Old animosities, it seems, were lost in the greater commonality of a shared idea of racial superiority. On the strictly American front, this belief in Protestant and white superiority was also fueled by challenges coming from other nations. Long before the great tide of European immigration at the close of the 19th century, the 1850s saw a vast influx of Irish, German, and Italians entering the U.S. Most impactfully, the potato famine in
Ireland contributed millions of new immigrants by 1854 (437), most of whom settled in the great cities of the Northeast. This influx created a backlash of resentment, and a more defined essence of a "nativist" spirit in those already established in the country. The immigrant population, in voting, expressed sympathies and ambitions opposed to the Protestant stronghold, and this gave rise to political affiliations of distinctly "Old World" character, and a militancy based upon Protestant solidarity (437).
The years before the Civil War, then, were marked by rising tensions created by inevitably escalating clashes of ideals and realities. Slavery would be the flagship issue, but far more was being contested, and before the war itself. America was engaging in international strong arm tactics, even as it was torn by a conflict born from the Anglo-Saxon, Protestant arrogance of its leadership colliding with the new blood of America itself.
Maier, P., & Keyssar, A. Inventing America, 2nd Ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company,…
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Maier, P., & Keyssar, A. Inventing America, 2nd Ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.
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