Originally Posted by Duncan Moench
This article uses the comparativist framework of Louis Hartz to reexamine the anti-German hysteria of the 1910s in the United States. By revisiting the notions of the American character prevalent at the time, an overlap between anti-German and antisocial democratic sentiment emerges. Examining the history of anti-German sentiment in the United States reveals that the American liberal tradition was then understood in an ethnic as well as political sense. Combining social history and rhetorical analysis with theories of American political thought, this examination situates the eruption of nativist violence aimed at German Americans and leftists as part of a larger multigenerational reaction to increasing non-British populations. In this context, the Germanophobia of the 1910s emerges as a long-standing battle to undermine American political traditions outside the Anglo-liberal mold, along the way exposing blind spots in the contemporary white supremacy framework as an explanation for American political development.