“‘Freighted deep with Asia’s stores’: Asian Commerce in the Political Imagination of the Early Republic”
Dael Norwood, New York Historical Society and 2011-2012 MCEAS Consortium Fellow
Friday, 22 February 2013
Rutgers University, Faculty Lounge,
Third Floor, Armitage Hall
Dael has provided the following abstract of his paper:
The early United States did not exist in a vacuum. To the contrary, early Americans defined themselves, and the nation, through their relations with the world. This paper explores a crucial aspect of these relations, examining how in the aftermath of the Revolutionary war, American leaders sought to use Asia’s well-stocked markets as a counterbalance to European hegemony. A core rationale for the federalist project of national consolidation became providing a stable government capable of protecting and regulating trade for the benefit of the nation as a whole – a focus created, in part, in reaction to the issues that China traders faced during their first voyages. Leaders’ talk of Asian trade was more than mere rhetoric: the first post-Constitution Congress not only created a new commercial system, it also granted Asian traders unique legal protections within that system. By expanding our knowledge of the politics of the early United States beyond the narrow continental or Atlantic borders to which it has heretofore been confined, this paper offers a new model for understanding how a global vision of political economy mingled “foreign” and “domestic” politics together, from the very beginning of U.S. history.
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