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HISTORICKÁ SOCIOLOGIE, Vol 14 No 1 (2022), 11–21

American National Identity and Portrayal of the Russian Empire in The New York Times in the Late Nineteenth Century

Haylee Behrends

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14712/23363525.2022.2
published online: 13. 06. 2022


This article seeks to identify how U.S. media in the late nineteenth century sought to portray the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth century. The primary focus is on the “newspaper of record” The New York Times, which reflected to a certain degree the attitudes of the American people, but more so reflected the stance of the “powers that be” in the United States – the government and the business class. The main goal of this article is not to make conjecture about what nineteenth century Americans believed, or to state that there was an agenda against the Russian Empire. Rather, the goal of this article is to demonstrate that American attitudes reflected in U.S. media towards the Russian Empire were shaped by the media, and that the portrayal of the Russian Empire was not entirely positive or negative, although followed a negative trend over time for various reasons. The reasons for negative portrayal of the Russian Empire in The New York Times were arguably connected to various tsars in power and their personalities and a shift in world alliances bringing the United States closer to Great Britain. The portrayal of the Russian Empire in U.S. media as well as the reasons for its eventual negative stance, led Russia to be a suitable “other” in American national identity formation as the twentieth century unfolded.

keywords: national identity; The New York Times; The United States; Russia Empire; newspaper media

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