Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Ideology, Political Discourse, and Political Struggle in Early America




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



The paper employs ethnomethodology and discourse analysis to examine political struggles during three periods in the early history of the United States: the struggle between the British and American colonial revolutionaries in the period directly preceding the American revolution; the struggle between Federalists and Republicans in the period between the adoption of the constitution and the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson; and the struggle between commitment to the constitution and opposition to slavery faced by Northern Americans directly preceding the Civil War. The paper examines the use of ideological categories as linguistic tools employed in social practices by different actors in different situations to achieve widely different ends. When applied in concrete situations the variability of such categories is at least as striking as any consistency. Ideologies are flexible enough to allow social actors to a categorize people or events in one way on one occasion and in a different way on another. This is not just understandable it is necessary because social categorization is fundamental to the way we make sense of social structure and because it provide coherence to our social worlds.

Conference Name

Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences

Conference Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

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