Brendon O'Connor Mines the History of Anti-Americanism After 9/11

Sep 12, 2011
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Former Wilson Center Australian Scholar Brendon O'Connor published an essay on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in The Australian, reflecting upon the idea of anti-Americanism, the history of how the world views superpowers, and his own time as a scholar in the United States:

Anti-Americanism's origins are most sensibly traced to the Jacksonian period (the 1820s and 1830s) in American history. Just as expressions of anti-globalisation existed before the late 20th century, forms of anti-Americanism existed before the 1820s. But anti-Americanism and anti-globalism have a key period that was crucial in shaping their tropes and language.

In the case of anti-Americanism, it was under president Andrew Jackson that the American frontier dramatically expanded (often in rough-and-ready circumstances) and Europe experienced an equally dramatic surge of interest in America. As a result there emerged a greatly increased volume of travel writing about the new nation. This literature and commentary, widely read at the time by a public looking for ways to understand this new force in the world, gives a great insight into perceptions of America.

Read the full essay at The Australian, and read more from The Wilson Center's decade of scholarship surrounding 9/11 here.