Within the realm of interpretivism, I am interested in studying the elite’s discourses on Anglo-American relations at the end of the 19th century because I want to understand the radical change and generation of an Anglo-American identity. With this, I want to help my reader understand how a newly constructed identity of Anglo-Saxon supremacy helped redefine Anglo-American relations but converged toward a racist ideology.
I decided upon Anglo-American relations at the end of the 19th century since the two parties went under a rather significant change (from fighting two wars in quick succession to becoming close allies) over the course of 150 years. I focused on qualitative primary sources of those who I saw as being intellectually or culturally significant within Britain and the US at the time of Anglo-American rapprochement. Instead of drawing upon more presidential sources and speeches (as I had done for previous research posts), I branched toward elites with influence, but not direct political power.
The first source I read was by the well-known Scottish-American business magnate, Andrew Carnegie. His 1893 piece, The Reunion of Britain and America: A Look Ahead, promoted what he described as “a race confederation” between the United Kingdom and the United States. Initially, he cited documents before and during the early stages of the American war for independence, attempting to show British loyalism among the disgruntled states and the eventual founding fathers. The selection of texts seems to simplify the complexity of American national identity in order to promote Carnegie’s vision of an Anglo-Saxon “race confederation”. Within the text, there is a great deal of emphasis on the racial continuity between the two states, stating that “In race—and there is a great deal in race—the American remains three-fourths purely British…” and that “substantially all of the remainder, though not strictly British, is yet Germanic”. These overt statements of race and blood construct a very specific and exclusive definition of an American. It excludes those from non-Germanic ancestry and millions of African-Americans, all of whom were legally American. Despite this, Carnegie later praises the action President Lincoln took thirty years prior in signing the Emancipation Proclamation. This suggests he is fully aware of the racial composition of the country but simply does not count them within this larger Anglo-American identity. Further analysis would include other American sources to examine the similarity and dissimilarity within the discourse of Anglo-American rapprochement.
Next, I examined a piece written by leading British jurist and legal scholar, Albert Venn Dicey. His 1897 essay, A Common Citizenship for the English Race, also spoke of a “reunion of English people”. Dicey proposed a form of common citizenship or “isopolity” between Americans and Brits. The concept of isopolity itself is interesting since I have only ever seen it when describing classical societies like Rome and the city-states of Ancient Greece. This, while subtle, seems to indicate a certain braggadocio and belief in their own superiority. However, the political aspect of isopolity differs from Carnegie’s view of Anglo-American reunion, which is more focused on the creation of a uniform identity. Despite this, Dicey also relies heavily on this language of racial superiority, describing the “English race”, its “common nationality” and a responsibility to “permanently secure the peace of a large portion of the world”. However, most of the essay explains how such a reunion would be legally feasible and relies heavily upon the legal codes of each country to effectively argue this.
If I were to continue with this methodology, I would focus more on this language of racial purity and how this continued or changed up leading into the United State’s involvement in World War I and II. This exploration into the racist side of Anglo-American relations can reveal domestic insecurities, the concentration of power within the Anglo-Saxon population, and the elites who stood to gain the most from Anglo-American unity.
 Andrew Carnegie. “The Reunion of Britain and America: A Look Ahead.” LSE Selected Pamphlets, (January 1, 1893), 12. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/60214531?origin=api.
 Ibid, 4-6.
 Ibid, 9.
 Ibid, 457.
 Ibid, 465-467.