Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943


Unless otherwise indicated, all OI books are distributed by The University of North Carolina Press.

Warring for America

Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812

Nicole Eustace and Fredrika Teute

Cloth: 978-1-4696-3151-6 ($59.95)

Copyright 2017
University of North Carolina Press


The War of 1812 was one of a cluster of events that left unsettled what is often referred to as the Revolutionary settlement. At once postcolonial and neoimperial, the America of 1812 was still in need of definition. As the imminence of war intensified the political, economic, and social tensions endemic to the new nation, Americans of all kinds fought for country on the battleground of culture. The War of 1812 increased interest in the American democratic project and elicited calls for national unity, yet the essays collected in this volume suggest that the United States did not emerge from war in 1815 having resolved the Revolution’s fundamental challenges or achieved a stable national identity. The cultural rifts of the early republican period remained vast and unbridged.


Warring for America opens up new pathways for scholarship and thought on the early republic. Provocative, deeply engaged, and wide ranging, this set of essays reveals that, in literature, political rhetoric, theater, and art, the very idea of the republic was imagined and reimagined in the years surrounding the War of 1812.

--Michael Meranze

“Did the Jeffersonian-Madisonian Republic establish a post-Revolutionary consensus that would unravel with the rise of antebellum sectionalism? The sparkling essays in Warring for America reveal a very different set of stories. Americans were struggling to define their nation, with fragile common formations barely concealing underlying fractures. This volume offers a window onto the most innovative work on the cultural history of the early Republic in the age of Atlantic empire.”

--John L. Brooke, Ohio State University

“Reminding us that any fight for America is a fight over America, this rich collection surveys the rugged terrain of the hard-fought culture wars surrounding the War of 1812. With its depiction of a United States as riven by class and race as much as united against foreign threat, this volume could not be more timely.”

--Jeannine DeLombard, University of California, Santa Barbara