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The Gospel of KindnessAnimal Welfare and the Making of Modern America$
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Janet M. Davis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733156

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733156.001.0001

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“So Thoroughly Un-American”

“So Thoroughly Un-American”

Making Historical Sense of the Bullfight

Chapter:
(p.179) 6 “So Thoroughly Un-American”
Source:
The Gospel of Kindness
Author(s):

Janet M. Davis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733156.003.0007

This chapter explores the American anti-bullfighting movement. The history of colonial Spain and its former empire in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Texas borderlands is essential to understanding bullfight as an American crucible for ideas about civilization and benevolent nation and empire building. After America won the majority of Spain’s empire in 1898, animal protectionists, policymakers, religious leaders, and travel writers pointed to bullfighting bans across the new empire as concrete proof of American exceptionalism in practice, vis-à-vis “barbaric” Spain. American travel literature and newspaper reportage used the bullfight a stand-in for nation, race, class, gender, and Catholicism. This transnational history provides a necessary prologue to a bullfighting controversy at the Texas Centennial during the summer of 1936, when the famous American “Bullfighter from Brooklyn” Sydney Franklin and a Mexican bullfighting syndicate battled an Anglo-Protestant consortium of cultural brokers over the pluralistic meanings of Texas history and American civilization.

Keywords:   Texas Centennial 1936, Sidney Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, American borderlands, picador horses, bloodless bullfighting, Minnie Maddern Fiske, Pan American Exposition, bullfighting tourism

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