Legacies for Citizenship: Pinpointing Americans during and after World War I

TitleLegacies for Citizenship: Pinpointing Americans during and after World War I
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsCapozzola, Christopher
JournalDiplomatic History
Date Published09/2014

World War I marked a fundamental transformation in the political structures and cultural meanings of U.S. citizenship that shaped the American polity for two generations and indeed continue to resonate a century later. This essay draws on recent work in the history of political culture that sees citizenship not only as a formal legal category but also as a set of cultural and discursive practices. While it is centrally concerned with the institutional history of U.S. citizenship, it also asks how laws structured social dynamics outside of the state. It links diplomatic, immigration, and social histories, attending to nonstate actors as historical agents who remade U.S. foreign relations by enlisting, migrating, marrying, or gossiping. While states wielded decisive power over citizens during and after World War I, individuals played crucial roles in shaping the course of events at home and abroad.

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