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The Whole World My Country

The Whole World My Country

A Cosmopolitan Society

(p.165) Chapter Five The Whole World My Country
Holy Nation
Sarah Crabtree
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the profound and abrupt transformation in attitudes toward Quakers by their champions-turned-critics after the French Revolution and the continental wars that followed. These events were catalysts in the rising tide of European nationalism and the fading hopes of Enlightenment cosmopolitanism. The image of 'the good Quaker' serves as an important bellwether in the transition, highlighting the unsuccessful attempts by writers in both France and England to reconcile their former cosmopolitan hopes with the fierce nationalism they adopted during nearly twenty-five years of war. A “citizen of the world” suddenly seemed threatening to those who championed a new world order in which everyone “belonged” to a nation and subscribed to the (civil) religion of nationalism. The Friends' refusal to identify with one country—and, more importantly, to be under the auspices of one state—cast them in a newly unfavorable light. The image of the “good Quaker” thus disappeared along with the Enlightenment aspiration toward “citizens of the world,” and only a small group of the Quakers' most committed allies would keep alive their transnational model of community and sovereignty into the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   cosmopolitanism, France, French Revolution, enlightenment, The Good Quaker, citizen of the world

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