Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America

By Francesca Morgan | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
The Empire

FOLLOWING ITS INDEPENDENCE, the United States developed as a land empire — continually conquering and repeopling territory beyond its western border until that border reached the sea. At the turn of the twentieth century, the United States also constituted an overseas empire with distant possessions. The country annexed Hawaii and, after a brief war with Spain, Spanish island colonies (including Puerto Rico) in 1898; it suppressed the Filipino independence movement to hold the Philippines as a colony by 1902; and it continued military and political interventions in the Caribbean and in Latin America, forging an empire without colonies, throughout the twentieth century. The United States's acquisition of distant colonies and the wars accompanying that process had contradictory effects on the spect rum of women-centered nationalism, appearing to validate both its boldness and its conservatism. War and the awareness of empire heightened women's convictions that their own political activism was valuable to their nations, especially as contrasted to the place of women in masculine nationalists' ideas about race suicide. Yet war and the awareness of empire simultaneously reduced women's importance as patriots. Women who eulogized fighting men even more than before — at a time when the military excluded women from combat — reinforced men's monopolization of political leadership and of first-class citizenship.

War and overseas empire also sharpened differences of opinion among women regarding the relationship between state and nation. The imperial

-57-

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Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Gender and American Culture ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - The Nation 19
  • Chapter Two - The Empire 57
  • Chapter Three - The State 79
  • Chapter Four - The War 101
  • Chapter Five - The Security State 127
  • Epilogue 153
  • Notes 165
  • Bibliography 239
  • Index 273
  • Gender and American Culture 295
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