Cosmopolitanism and Nationhood in the Age of Jefferson

‘Cosmopolitanism and Nationhood in the Age of Jefferson’ explores the origins of modern conceptions of world citizenship and the nation in Jeffersonian America. In today’s discussions of a transnational world, cosmopolitanism tends to be understood as a potential antidote to problematic aspects of nationhood – indeed, cosmopolitanism is often treated as a direct antonym of nationalism. From the perspective of the eighteenth century, however, such an understanding would hardly be self-evident: for Thomas Jefferson and many of his peers in the late Enlightenment, it was possible to conceive of themselves as broad-minded cosmopolitans and as ardent advocates of national interests, without having to emphasize a potential of conflict. Jeffersonian cosmopolitanism, as analyzed in the essays of this volume, could thus become a powerful secular source of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American exceptionalism.

‘Cosmopolitanism and Nationhood in the Age of Jefferson’ takes an interdisciplinary approach to the controversial topic of the cosmopolitan roots of modern nationhood, examining it in its historical, political, cultural, literary, and philosophical dimensions.


Hermann Wellenreuther in: Amerikastudien / American Studies, 62.4 (2017) online, URL:

Malte Hinrichsen in: Archiv für Sozialgeschichte, 56 (2015), URL: [23.12.2015]

Darren Staloff in: Journal of American History, Vol. 102.1 (2015), 237f

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