This introduction traces a strain of antifamilial republican political thought that was supplanted by an American national identity based on genealogical blood in the nineteenth century. It reviews uses and critiques of familial rhetorics to naturalize socio-political exclusion, including Free Lovers and other utopian socialists who denounced the domestic family, and it introduces this book’s central argument that a significant strain of nineteenth-century American literature retained a republican suspicion of the institution of the family and its outsize status in American political and social life. Includes a discussion of nineteenth-century family register and genealogical tree lithographs.
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