Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

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.

Publication Title

The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

DOI

10.1017/S1537781400000864

Comments

Copyright 2008 by Cambridge University Press (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JGA)

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