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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

Is the Indian an American?

Is the Indian an American?

(p.112) Chapter Five Is the Indian an American?
The Transatlantic Indian, 1776-1930

Kate Flint

Princeton University Press

This chapter describes how the Indian functioned as a figure of American national identity within Britain. By the time of the 1851 Great Exhibition, America was presenting herself as a thoroughly modern country, yet the empty floor spaces within the U.S. section of the exhibition provided plenty of opportunity to assess this claim, as well as to consider the implications of unpopulated—or apparently unpopulated—space. The sculptural figure of the Wounded Indian, which formed part of the American exhibit, was readily seized upon for its ironic potential. In the light of national self-presentation, the chapter asks whether or not the Indian was, in Britain, identified with, or against, American identity in the midcentury, a question that is highly pertinent to the reception of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Hiawatha (1855). The figure of Hiawatha provides an example, moreover—albeit highly fictionalized and idealized—of the ideals of noble masculinity, something that continues the emphasis on the strongly gendered way in which Native Americans were understood.

Keywords:   Indian, American national identity, Britain, 1851 Great Exhibition, America, Wounded Indian, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hiawatha, noble masculinity, Native Americans

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