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Constitution and Sovereignty in the American Civil War

Grant number: 14/04407-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2014
Effective date (End): July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Theory
Principal researcher:Eunice Ostrensky
Grantee:Breno Herman Mendes Barlach
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):15/08162-5 - Sovereignty and constitution during the American civil war, BE.EP.MS


Between the foundation of the United States, in 1776, to its Civil war, in 1861, the political debate in this country was in great part subject of a geographical division between an enslaver South and a free North. During the XIXth century, many of the public debates in the country discussed the real interest of their "founding fathers", and how to interpret the documents from the revolutionary period. In the 1850s, disputes over how the Constitution could limit or not the expansion of slavery grew due to the country's occupation of the West. In this context, tensions intensified, culminating on the conflict of the following decade.The research proposed in this project aims on understanding how the public debate around the Civil War re-interpreted and reformed some of political science's central concepts, such as "constitution", "citizenship", "rights", "liberty", among others. The focus will be on understanding the concept of states' rights, which, together with the risk of abolition of slavery, was the core of southern states' justification of the war. The analysis of documents, such as political actors' speeches, newspapers editorials, and pamphlets from the period between the beginning of the war (1861) to the approval of the 15º amendment, in 1870, will allow us to understand how, in that specific context, the political agents used the languages of the Independence period debates. We will use pocockian concepts of langue and parole, as they will be crucial to the comprehension of the effects of discourses (parole) on the language (langue) that sustains them.

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Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
BARLACH, Breno Herman Mendes. And where was the people? Nationality and exclusion in the American Civil War Era (1861-1865). 2016. Master's Dissertation - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD) São Paulo.

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