Document Type


Publication Date



In this essay I trace what I will here call a cultural pathology in American history and historiography. This cultural pathology certainly stems from the Puritan dilemma of colonial, but it might also be said to have no unique location or site of origin. Rather than locate a unique site of origin for this cultural pathology in any period of American history, I shall argue for its location in the subject of discourse. If Hardt and Negri are right when they claim in Empire (2000) that the United States begins to practice a new mode of political sovereignty after the first Gulf War in 1991, it is also the case that such royal prerogative to go to war in the name of peace and the economy correlates with a long history of repetition dating back to every quarter of American history, be it the puritan dilemma, or the economic basis of the American Revolution, or the federalistantifederalist debates surrounding the Constitutional Convention, or the Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800, etc. I read American history and historiography with a pyschoanalytic interest, employing the Lacanian phrases, maque-á-etre and the Other of the Other, to designate the cultural pathology I am speaking of. This pathology is manifested in American historiography as a will to exceptionalism, and in American history as a prerogative to legitimacy.

Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.