Political Violence and National Self-Definition
This chapter examines how political violence challenged the old Enlightenment faith that reason and right would guide the new nation-states. However, the nation-states themselves had been subverting that faith for almost a century. Events in Europe continued to confirm the disaffection of the Ourvrier Circle and its allies among the Universal Democratic Republicans in America. Armed conflict in the Kansas Territory had already forcibly refocused their Brotherhood of the Union whose agrarian, socialist, and abolitionist visions had relied so heavily on reasoned moral discourse. On the other hand, groups such as the Knights of the Golden Circle had always equated progress with the violent subjugation of the more primitive.
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