Reprinting Russia: Anti-Imperial Discourse in Elias Boudinot’s Cherokee Phoenix
Wagner, Jesse Ryan
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While much work has explored American Indian print resistance to the encroaching United States, little scholarship has explored reprinting as a method of resistance. Building on Meredith McGill’s argument that reprinting is “legible as an independently signifying act” (5), this analysis shows how Elias Boudinot, editor of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper from 1828 to 1832, selectively reprinted articles about the Russian Empire to foster an anti-imperial spirit among his readers. This analysis shows that Boudinot subversively played on the idea of Russia as the United States’ distant twin by predominantly republishing articles that portray Russia as cruel, weak, and an enemy to democratic ideals of liberty and freedom. Such a portrayal instills a resistant attitude in his readership against Russian-style imperialism and the countries which subscribe to it. This analysis calls for refocusing of attention away from great powers and onto smaller nations affected by great power politics.