University of Wyoming
FACW_HIST_2008_19433557__Roberts_Phil.pdf (4.14 MB)

All Americans are hero-worshippers: American Observations on the First U.S. Visit by a Reigning Monarch, 1876

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-15, 21:42 authored by Phil Roberts
When Dom Pedro II, emperor of Brazil, visited America in 1876, he planned to assess industrial and technological innovation on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and to pay visits to men whom he admired. Most Americans were fascinated by the emperor, even though his visit came at an awkward time. During the centennial of the Declaration of Independence, America was hosting an emperor—and from the last major slaveholding country. This article reviews newspaper accounts of the visit and analyzes the ambivalence displayed toward his visit. Americans were supposedly devoted to equality. Nonetheless, wherever he went during his three-month sojourn, the emperor was met by admiring crowds. One newspaper explained: "It is not the monarch so much as the novelty that attracts in this country." This article views the visit not from Dom Pedro's impressions of America, but from American responses to the visit of a hereditary monarch—the first to travel around America during his reign. The paper concludes that centennial-year fascination with royalty generally overcame historic contempt for hereditary privilege and lack of interest in royal visitors. Such ambivalent attitudes toward visiting royalty continue into the present day.







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The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era


Department of History and American Studies


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    Department of History and American Studies