Nationalism in nineteenth-century America operated through a collection of symbols, signifiers citizens could invest with meaning and understanding. In Confederate Visions, Ian Binnington examines the roots of Confederate nationalism by analysing some of its most important symbols: Confederate constitutions, treasury notes, wartime literature, and the role of the military in symbolising the Confederate nation.Nationalisms tend to construct a glorified past, an idyllic picture of national strength, honor, and unity, with a past often based on a vision of what should be true rather than what actually was. Binnington considers here the ways in which the Confederacy was imagined by antebellum Southerners through a group of intertwined mythic concepts-the ""Worthy Southron,"" the ""Demon Yankee,"" the ""Silent Slave,"" and a sense of shared history deemed Confederate Americanism. These symbols were repeatedly invoked and entwined by the producers of Confederate nationalism. The Worthy Southron, the constructed Confederate self, was imagined as a champion of liberty, counterposed to the Demon Yankee other, a fanatical abolitionist and enemy of Liberty. The Silent Slave, meanwhile, was a companion to the vocal Confederate self, loyal and trusting, reliable and honest. The road to the creation of an American identity was fraught with struggle, political conflict, and ultimately bloody Civil War. Confederate Visions examines literature, newspapers and periodicals, visual imagery, and formal state documents to explore the origins and development of these symbols of wartime Confederate nationalism.
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