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We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple, We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple, 0817315926, 0-8173-1592-6, 978-0-8173-1592-4, 9780817315924, , , We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple, 0817357629, 0-8173-5762-9, 978-0-8173-5762-7, 9780817357627, , , We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple, 0817387315, 0-8173-8731-5, 978-0-8173-8731-0, 9780817387310,

We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple
Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism

Quality Paper
2013. 232 pp.
Price:  $24.95 s
E Book
2013. 232 pp.
Price:  $24.95 d

The turn of the 20th century represented one of the most chaotic periods in the nation's history, as immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans struggled with their roles as Americans while white America feared their encroachments on national identity. This book examines Theodore Roosevelt’s public rhetoric—speeches, essays, and narrative histories—as he attempted to craft one people out of many. Leroy G. Dorsey observes that Roosevelt's solution to the problem appeared straightforward: everyone could become "Americans, pure and simple" if they embraced his notion of "Americanism." Roosevelt grounded his idea of Americanism in myth, particularly the frontier myth—a heroic combination of individual strength and character. When nonwhites and immigrants demonstrated these traits, they would become true Americans, earning an exalted status that they had heretofore been denied.
Dorsey’s analysis illuminates how Roosevelt's rhetoric achieved a number of delicate, if problematic, balancing acts. Roosevelt gave his audiences the opportunity to accept a national identity that allowed "some" room for immigrants and nonwhites, while reinforcing their status as others, thereby reassuring white Americans of their superior place in the nation. Roosevelt’s belief in an ordered and unified nation did not overwhelm his private racist attitudes, Dorsey argues, but certainly competed with them. Despite his private sentiments, he recognized that racist beliefs and rhetoric were divisive and bad for the nation’s progress. The resulting message he chose to propagate was thus one of a rhetorical, if not literal, melting pot.
By focusing on Roosevelt’s rhetorical constructions of national identity, as opposed to his personal exploits or his role as a policy maker, We Are All Americans offers new insights into Roosevelt’s use of public discourse to bind the nation together during
one of the most polarized  periods in its history.

Leroy G. Dorsey is Associate Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University and author of The Presidency and Rhetorical Leadership.

“This book succeeds in making a grand contribution to TR scholarship. . . . The historic and contextual research is terrific.” —Vanessa Beasley, author of You the People: American National Identity in Presidential Rhetoric

We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple: Theodore Roosevelt and the Myth of Americanism examines how Theodore Roosevelt defined American identity and its implication for racial relations. . . . Dorsey convincingly argues that even if Roosevelt gained politically from enfranchising minority populations, and even if his rhetoric was frequently harsh, ‘Roosevelt did negotiate civic and racial/ethnic traits into one American identity’ (139). Given the existing tensions regarding immigration in the United States, We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple has a lot to offer us in our conversations about nationalism and identity.”—Rhetoric and Public Affairs

“With his We Are All Americans, Pure and Simple, Dorsey has made a true contribution, both to cultural studies and to the voluminous literature on Theodore Roosevelt.”—Journal of American Culture

2008 Marie Hochmuth Nichols Award, sponsored by Public Address Division, National Communication Association