As a marker of national identity, the term "American" is culturally meaningful but also difficult and contradictory. In the first part of this article, we develop the claim that analyzing nationalism as discourse provides a meaningful lens for the study of this boundary-making process. In particular, the distinctions between civic/ethnic and inclusive/exclusive forms of nationalism have proved nettlesome for a consideration of American nationalism. In the second half of the article, we use data from the Southern Populist movement of the late nineteenth century to provide both relational and cultural analyses of the use of the term "American." Although its use was primarily "civic," it had important but complex racial implications.