Pretexts: Some thoughts on the militarization of print rationality in the early republic

Eric Wertheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Scopus citations


This essay simply asks how the culture of the pretext prepares a nation not just for a war, but for modern war, with its peculiar mediational circumstances. Focussing on James Madison and his arguments and stratagems leading to the War of 1812, the essay briefly describes and conceptualizes the manufacturing of an emergency that mobilizes a public inclined to fragmentation and dissensus. The constitutional directives laid out by republican print textuality are, in this argument, stressed in ways that endure through American civic and political life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalCanadian Review of American Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012



  • Constitution
  • James Madison
  • Republicanism
  • War of 1812
  • war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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