- Fellowship year:2021-2022
- University: Columbia University
- Dissertation Topic/Category: United States
- Dissertation Title: Fashioning a New Democracy and Empire: Reconstruction of the American Union in the Shadow of Great Britain, 1865-1880
My dissertation, “Fashioning a New Democracy and Empire: Reconstruction of the American Union in the Shadow of Great Britain, 1865-1880,” traces connections between the domestic legal history of Reconstruction and changes in the United States’ international position and foreign policy after the Civil War. The end of slavery, administration of the former Confederacy, and transformative amendments to the Constitution increased the reach of the federal government. Historians most often, and with great dexterity, have analyzed this process at the regional and national levels. The momentous effects of Reconstruction, however, reached beyond the nation’s borders and domestic law. American leaders heeded international precedents and events as they reconstituted the nation’s legal underpinnings. Their debates in turn drew attention abroad, particularly in the British Empire, during a critical period of state-building from the 1860s through the early 1880s. Confronting crises amid the rising possibility of mass democracy, British and American politicians applied lessons from each other’s experiences. Drawing on American, British, and Irish archives, this dissertation demonstrates how leaders and lawmakers in the United States asserted national sovereignty in new, though halting, ways. Each chapter examines international dimensions of a key question of governance and canonical subject of Reconstruction scholarship – emancipation, land reform, expansion of the franchise, citizenship, martial law, and federalism – to gauge the far-reaching impact and influences of Reconstruction policymaking.