Abstract of Thoraval, Y . “Broad Appeal: How Pearl Harbor and September 11 helped locate the essence of American national identity”.
This essay explores the history of American national identity by examining the official political responses to Pearl Harbor and September 11. Specifically, the paper analyzes state of the union addresses delivered by Presidents F.D. Roosevelt and G.W. Bush in the wake of these national crises and identifies the ideological commonalities that underpin the political rhetoric.
I argue that the substance of these speeches articulated a national consensus on American values, and projected the essential character of the American self-image outward to soothe a wounded nation.