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The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930$
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Kate Flint

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203188

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203188.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Figuring America

Figuring America

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter One Figuring America
Source:
The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930
Author(s):

Kate Flint

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691203188.003.0001

This chapter discusses the place of the Native American in the British cultural imagination from the time of American independence up to the early decades of the twentieth century. The iconic image of the Indian is not only inseparable from the expansion and the internal policies of the new nation during the nineteenth century, and from the country's reflections concerning its history and its national identity, but is also central to Britain's conceptualization of the whole American continent. Additionally, the Indian is a figure charged with significance when it comes to Britain's interpretation of her whole imperial role and her responsibility toward indigenous peoples. In other words, the Indian is a touchstone for a whole range of British perceptions concerning America during the long nineteenth century and plays a pivotal role in the understanding and imagining of cultural difference. But transatlantic crossings were not limited to visual and textual representations. A significant number of Native Americans visited Britain in the long nineteenth century, and this book explores their engagement with that country, its people and institutions, and these visitors' perceptions of the development of modern, urban, industrialized life. Their reactions—whether curiosity, shock, resistance, or enthusiasm—show them to have been far from the declining and often degenerate race that popular culture frequently made them out to be.

Keywords:   Native Americans, British cultural imagination, American independence, Indian, America, national identity, Britain, indigenous peoples, cultural difference

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