Gary Gerstle traces the forces of civic and racial nationalism, arguing that both profoundly American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century. The dialectical tension between these two ideals lies at the heart of Gary Gerstle’s monograph, American Crucible. Much like E. J. Hobsbawm’s analysis of the. American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century By Gary Gerstle Paperback, pages. Princeton University Press List price.

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Roosevelt’s vision of a hybrid and superior “American race,” strengthened by war, would inspire the social, diplomatic, and economic policies of American liberals for decades.

God is making the American. While many of the arguments Gerstle presents prove convincing, one wonders whether the sixties and seventies really define a kind of endpoint crycible the Rooseveltian nation.

Most notable was the way he treated the reputation zmerican black cavalryman who had fought in the Spanish-American War.

Excerpt: ‘American Crucible’ : NPR

Is America a wonderful melting pot in which the world’s ethnicities and races can come together to form a vibrant new nation, or has the American dream become, in the words of Malcolm X, wmerican American nightmare?

But the ferstle of racial nationalism bred disillusionment, prompting many black activists to jettison their civic ideals and embrace black power, an ideology that rejected America as hopelessly compromised by racism and that called on blacks to break their affective and cultural ties to it.

Sign In Forgot password? Prasenjit Duara in Historicizing National Identity challenges us to look at nationalism using alternate views of time and space. Of course, civic nationalism evolved throughout the 20th century to the point, possibly as early as the New Deal, where leading liberals like FDR and LBJ were willing to extend the membership in the nation to any race that adopted the American creed. Tolerance and diversity implies an acceptance of differences that is the opposite of racism.

American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century by Gary Gerstle

A very well-written, easy to read examination of US nationalism. Two conflicting notions of nationalism have shaped American identity during the twentieth century: This ideal, too, was inscribed in the Constitution although not in the Declaration of Independencewhich endorsed the enslavement of Africans in the southern states, and it was encoded in a key law limiting naturalization to “free white persons.


Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities: More radical activists increasingly saw the civic nationalist creed as hollow because liberals were too incremental in their approach to racial and social justice.

The literature on the history of race and racism in America is, of course, enormous. But in the early twentieth century, the rise of the corporations transformed the economic and political landscape. For example, the America Deal and WWII witnessed the emergence of Civil Rights as a national issue, a significant black voting bloc in the Democratic Party, and the federal government beginning to take sides on issues of racism and segregation.

Roediger’s The Wages of Whitenessthat amrican argued for the centrality of race to American politics and society.

It influenced many writers, who, like Zangwill, often did not think to include blacks, Hispanics, or Asians in their American crucible, and it guided the racial policies of nation-building institutions, such as the military, that brought together whites of varying nationalities, religions, and regions even as they separated whites from blacks.

He puts forth Teddy Roosevelt as the founder of 20th century civic nationalism, albeit a racially limited version. Don’t have an account? Throughout the book Gerstle uses TR as the point of reference in americzn analysis of later developments.

AMERICAN CRUCIBLE: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

Sep 21, Jim rated it really liked it. The black nationalist renunciation of America was a stunning development. Their origins may be purposive or accidental. The trigger was the civil rights revolution that began in the s and reached its climax in the s.

Gerstle argues that after the fall of the Rooseveltian Nation, the United States was in a state of shock. These beliefs represent a kind of democratic universalism that can take root anywhere. Simultaneously, many of its supporters subscribed to the racial notion that America, despite its civic creed, ought to maximize the opportunities for its “racial superiors” and limit those of its “racial inferiors.

Theodore Roosevelt was a man who fully embodied these nationalist tensions who here serves as a rhetorical model for understanding how civic and racially-based ideologies fought for dominance in American society.


Racial nationalism is the idea that America is a white nation that must control who is allowed in, who mixes with whom, and what rights and wealth non-whites have.

In this engrossing, powerfully argued study, Gerstle Working-Class Americanism shows how this struggle has shaped the past years of U. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Virtually every issue we deal with as a country is, at its base, influenced by our view of national identity, and the nature of citizenship. All of this testifies ceucible this fear.

Books of the Week. A History of the American Race. However, this was also the time of conservative resurgence in defense of Jim Crow, inner-city white resistance to black mobility, and a virtual race war against the Japanese. Steve Lazar rated it it was amazing May 05, The Collapse of the Rooseveltian Nation.

Excerpt: ‘American Crucible’

This sweeping history of twentieth-century America follows the changing and often conflicting ideas about the fundamental nature of American society: In the words of Malcolm X, America was not a dream; it was a nightmare. The questions of why certain groups were able to overcome allegations of racial inferiority and others not and how their struggles for inclusion both challenged and reinforced the tradition of American racial nationalism form an important part of the story that this book tells.

Great text for studying race and amdrican relations in the US. Don’t already have an Oxford Academic account? The rapid spread of black nationalist principles to a mostly white and middle-class university population and, then, to far larger segments of white America, including European ethnics often thought to be black power’s diehard opponents, accelerated this nation’s collapse. Good War Race War One learns that the crucible of the title had room for only some Americans, mainly amrican of a certain kind and that people of color or other ethnic origin had a wholly different experience in 20thC America.

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