This week in class is entitled, "Encountering 'Foreign Peoples' at Home and Abroad." So, in our classes this week, we will be discussing how Americans in the late nineteenth century encountered both Native Americans and Chinese immigrants in the Western United States and also how they encountered different nationalities through war in the same period.
Monday Reading - Gerstle Chapter 1: "Theodore Roosevelt's Racialized Nation, 1890-1900"
A couple things to keep in mind as you read Chapter 1 in Gerstle. First, remember that you always want to think about Gerstle's chapters as evidence for the argument he put forward in the Introduction. That is, how, in the case of Chapter 1, is Gerstle attempting to prove his argument to you? What evidence and historical events does he use to support the book's overall argument? So, you want to recall the key arguments he made in the introduction about civic nationalism, racial nationalism, war, and the "Rooseveltian Nation." In Chapter 1 he is now attempting to prove his argument as it relates to these key terms for the period 1890-1900.
Second, as you read, remember that Gerstle is employing language used at the time that we have problems with in the present. He talks about race using terms like "savage," "civilized," "Negro," and others that we would not employ in the present. When he does this, he does it as a historian using the terms that were used at the time. So, be sure to note that he would not use these terms in the present, but is using them to show you how people like Roosevelt spoke at the time.
With all of this said, here are some questions for you to think about as you read:
1. How was Theodore Roosevelt's view of the racial nation informed by European history?
2. How was Roosevelt's view of the racial nation informed by encounters with Native Americans in the western United States? How, in Roosevelt's eyes, did westward expansion work to create a certain conception of America?
3. What was Roosevelt's view of African Americans and their role in creating the American nation?
4. What did Roosevelt think of the Chinese? Why?
5. What, for Roosevelt, was the "problem" with the "winning of the west"? Why was this a problem for forming an idea of the American nation? How could war "solve" the problem?
6. Gerstle argues that there were two ways that the Spanish-American War helped Roosevelt form his racial nationalism--through the composition of the Army itself and through "racializing" the foreign enemy. How did each of these work? How was the army composed and how was the enemy "racialized"?
7. Why does African American participation in the war effort trouble Roosevelt? How does he deal with this "problem"? How do African Americans themselves see the war as an opportunity to expand the civic nation and break down the racial nation?
8. Gerstle argues on page 38, "As a result of the Spanish-American War, efforts to recreate America as a white nation had borne fruit." Why does he write this?
Wednesday Reading - Primary source documents
As with last week's primary sources, you want to read these as a historian. That is, you want to read them and analyze them, seeking to determine what they tell us about the past. Also, be sure to consider how they work with and against Gerstle's argument.
1. Course Reader Document 6: William Apess's "An Indian's Looking-Glass for the White Man" (1836)
• What does Apess argue happens to Native Americans on reservations? Why?
• There are multiple ways Apess uses to rhetorically undermine the racial nation and argue for their inclusion in the civic nation. What are these multiple ways? What reasons does he use?
• Does Apess argue for assimilation of Native Americans? Why or why not?
2. Course Reader Document 7: "Chinese Equal Rights League Appeal" (1892)
• Is this document a full-throated defense of civic nationalism over racial nationalism? To what extent does it challenge racial nationalism?
• How does the document defend Chinese-American citizens? What reasons does it use?
3. Course Reader Document 8: Capt. Richard C. Pratt, "Kill the Indian, and Save the Man," (1892)
• Why, for Pratt have treaties been a problem for "civilizing" Native Americans? What does he mean by "civilizing"?
• How does Pratt equate Native Americans and slaves? He even goes so far as to say slavery was a "blessing" in disguise - why?
• He talks at one point about the "Land in Severalty Bill." This is the Dawes Act that I will talk about in lecture on Tuesday. It was designed to break up Native American reservations into private property. Why does Pratt argue that this bill doesn't go far enough? What "advances" does he argue could be made on this bill?
• What, according to Pratt, is the problem with tribal schools? How are they like Catholic schools? Why, for him, have missionaries been a problem as well?
• He proposes public "boarding schools" as the "solution" to the "problem" he describes. What is the ultimate "problem" for Pratt? How are the public boarding schools seen by him as a "solution"?
• How does Pratt see his project as being relatable to the immigrant experience in the United States?
4. Course Reader Document 9: Rudyard Kipling, "The White Man's Burden" (1899)
• There is a good introduction to this document before the start of this poem. Note this poem was often used as a justification for "civilizing" other countries through military force. Note that Gerstle in Chapter 1 talks about Roosevelt's response to the poem.
• Why, according to Kipling, should the "white man's burden" be taken up? What, for Kipling, is the white man's burden?
• How, according to Kipling, will colonized people react to this "burden"?
• If you were a citizen of a colonized territory, how would you respond to Kipling's poem?
5. Course Reader Document 10: H.T. Johnson, "The Black Man's Burden,": A Response to Kipling (1899)
• How is this poem a response to Kipling? What, specifically, is the argument being made in the poem?