Picturing nationalism in the nineteenth-century US Civil War press1

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses how the nineteenth-century illustrated press visually reported nationalism and national identity to readers about the US Civil War. To accomplish this, reporter-artists often used flags and flag iconography in pictorial news reports to communicate sentiments of nationalism in the country's two leading pictorial publications, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization. Narratives crafted by these early visual journalists presented unique ideological constructs about what it meant to be on the Northern or Southern side of this conflict. Using semiotic methods to study how nationalism was conveyed and embedded in pictorial news, five themes were identified: (1) national sovereignty; (2) loyalty, unity and strength; (3) ritual and ceremonial uses; (4) national temperament; and (5) appeasement and (re)unification. Illustrated sentiments of nationalism and national identity were most often associated with white men affiliated with the military and government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Nationalism
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781789903447
ISBN (Print)9781789903430
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Liah Greenfeld and Zeying Wu 2020. All rights reserved.


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