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Sovereignty and constitution during the American civil war

Grant number: 15/08162-5
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): August 25, 2015
Effective date (End): December 24, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Theory
Principal researcher:Eunice Ostrensky
Grantee:Breno Herman Mendes Barlach
Supervisor abroad: Richard F. Bensel
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Cornell University, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:14/04407-0 - Constitution and Sovereignty in the American Civil War, BP.MS


From the foundation of the United States, in 1776, until the Civil War that initiated in 1861, a geographical division between the enslaver south and the free north characterized the country's politics. During the nineteenth century, many of the country s public debates were based on discussions about the founding fathers real interest and how should the revolutionary era s documentation be interpreted. Starting in the 1850 s, the dispute over the reach of the Constitution on expanding or limiting slavery was intensified, due to the acceleration of West expansion. Tensions rise in this context, culminating in the next decade s conflicts. This research project aims to understand how did the public debates surrounding Civil War help to reinterpret and reformulate key concepts of political science such as constitution, citizenship, rights and liberty, amongst others. The research will focus on states' rights and the risk of abolition, which were the core of the southern states' political argument during Civil War. A documentary analysis, such as political actors' speeches, newspaper editorials and pamphlets dating from the beginning of the war (1861) to the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment (1868), will help to understand how, in this context, did actors renew the language employed in debates during the Revolutionary Era. We intent to investigate the strategic use of conceptual innovation in the justification made by each actor during the conflict, inserting the speeches within their intellectual context for full apprehension of their meanings. (AU)

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