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Democracy's SpectacleSovereignty and Public Life in Antebellum American Writing$
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Jennifer Greiman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230990

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823230990.001.0001

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/ Color, Race, and the Spectacle of Opinion in Beaumont's Marie

/ Color, Race, and the Spectacle of Opinion in Beaumont's Marie

(p.75) 2 / Color, Race, and the Spectacle of Opinion in Beaumont's Marie
Democracy's Spectacle

Jennifer Greiman

Fordham University Press

Gustave de Beaumont's novel, Marie, or, Slavery in the United States, opens with the frank admission that “a single idea dominates the work and forms the central point around which all the developments are arranged.” Beaumont finds in the United States a “double element” — an institution of slavery created and maintained by the state, and a customary practice of racial exclusion and debasement which he finds to be ubiquitous in public life. Beaumont elaborates on the “single idea” that motivates and dominates the text, not with the careful analysis that he so admires in Tocqueville, but with an account of a theatrical spectacle that marks the origin of the work.

Keywords:   Gustave de Beaumont, Marie or Slavery in the United States, double element, slavery, Tocqueville, racial exclusion, United States

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