Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kyle T. Bulthius

Second Advisor

Keri Holt

Third Advisor

James E. Sanders


Scholars often present nationalism as a cohesive social construction, modeled on Benedict Anderson's theory of imagined communities.1 The strength and popularity of Anderson's immensely useful paradigm of nationalism, however, perhaps leads to excited scholars over-extending his theory or seeing imagined communities that are little more than imaginary. The early Republic forms one such historical time period where, evidence suggests, historians have conjured nationalism where only a fractured nation existed. The various riots and rebellions during the early Republic strikingly expose a severely fractured nation. This paper will examine and critique some theoretical frameworks of nationalism and mobs in order to contextualize some prominent contemporary views on the Whiskey Rebellion. Ultimately, this paper marshals historical evidence to question the concept of nationalism in what was a fractured, and violently divided nation.