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Journal Article

"Jacobins in this Country": The United States, Great Britain, and Trans-Atlantic Anti-Jacobinism

RACHEL HOPE CLEVES
Early American Studies
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring 2010), pp. 410-445
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23546652
Page Count: 36
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"Jacobins in this Country": The United States, Great Britain, and Trans-Atlantic Anti-Jacobinism
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Abstract

Conservative vitriol against domestic "Jacobinism" suffused American political culture from the early 1790s to the Civil War. Yet this transnational counterrevolutionary discourse has received far less attention than transnational radicalism during the recent Atlantic turn in early American history. Seeking to correct that oversight, this article argues that American anti-Jacobinism developed simultaneously and in conversation with British anti-Jacobinism. American prints and events influenced British opposition to French Revolutionary violence, just as they were influenced by Britain. At the same time, British and American counter-revolutionaries frequently clashed over national interests. Recovering American contributions to trans-Atlantic anti-Jacobinism opens new questions about the sentiments underlying it. I argue that American anti-Jacobinism grew out of deeply rooted concerns about domestic civil violence. Ultimately, these fears of bloodshed transformed anti-Jacobinism into a powerful weapon against the violence of slavery.

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