By Don Harrison Doyle
In international locations Divided, Don H. Doyle seems at a few unforeseen parallels in American and Italian historical past. What we study will reattune us to the complexities and ironies of nationalism. in the course of his travels round southern Italy now not some time past, Doyle used to be stuck off defend via widespread photographs of the accomplice conflict flag. The flag may be obvious, he used to be advised, waving within the stands at football suits. even as, a political circulate in northern Italy referred to as for secession from the South. A historian with a unique curiosity within the lengthy afflicted courting among the yankee South and the USA, Doyle used to be pushed to appreciate the forces that unite and divide countries from within.The Italian South have been at odds with the extra wealthy, metropolitan North of Italy because the country's bloody unification struggles within the 1860s. hundreds of thousands of miles from Doyle's Tennessee domestic was once an eerily common situation: a South characterised by way of its many perceived difficulties by way of a North wanting to outline nationwide beliefs opposed to the southern "other." From this all of sudden decentered point of view, Doyle reexamines either nations' fight to create an autonomous, unified country and the continued attempt to instill nationwide identification of their assorted population. The Fourth of July and Statuto Day; Lincoln and Garibaldi; the accomplice States of the USA and the secessionist desires of Italy's Northern League; NAFTA and the eu Union--such themes look in telling juxtaposition, either inviting and defying effortless conclusions. while, Doyle negotiates the conceptual slipperiness of nationalism by way of discussing it as either built and genuine, unifying and divisive, suggestion for sturdy and excuse for atrocity."Americans prefer to reflect on themselves as being blameless of the vicious ethnic struggle that has raged within the previous international and over loads of the globe," writes Doyle. "Europeans, in flip, take pleasure in reminding american citizens of ways little background they have." This enlightening, hard meditation exhibits us that Europeans and americans have a lot to profit from the typical historical past of nationalism that has formed either their worlds.
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Additional info for Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question
21 Among his correspondents were the leading abolitionists of America and England, including Theodore Dwight Weld, to whom he wrote in 1859: “We are ﬁghting the same sacred battle for freedom and the emancipation of the oppressed,—you, Sir, against negro, we against white slavery. ”22 Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man of action to Mazzini’s man of ideas, spent his lifetime in Italy, South America, the United States, and France either ﬁghting wars of liberation against tyrants, kings, and clergy or in exile from those enemies.
16 By this time, the celebration of the Fourth of July had settled into a predictable script followed by small towns in every corner of the nation. It was, above all, a public event organized and performed on the local level, within a community that was very real. Though the typical celebration was far less elaborate than the Philadelphia extravaganza described above, it involved a large array of citizens, male and female, adults and children, whether they took part in the public procession or simply watched.
The United States is not so young and innocent; in fact, it is the oldest among modern democratic nations. 12 What might well have become the “former United States of America” became in the late 1860s a scarred and grizzled veteran of nationalism and its discontents. The revolutionary origins of America, its history of civil war and reconciliation, offer many examples—often unhappy ones—of the challenge of making nations out of diverse peoples and the terrible cost of failure. For many nations of the world the American past would become their future.