Identifying settlers by their plants: Taylor Spence, ‘The Canada Thistle: The Pestilence of American Colonialisms and the Emergence of an Exceptionalist Identity, 1783-1839’, Agricultural History, 90, 4, 2016, pp. 511-544
Abstract: This research demonstrates how a European plant, Cirsium arvense, common to North America since the sixteenth century and commonly considered a weed, became “Canadian ” when Early National Americans labeled it the Canada thistle in the years leading up to the War of 1812. This naming comprised part of a host of actions citizens of the new United States took to differentiate themselves from their imperial progenitor, and thus, the Canada thistle might be considered an early origin-point of an American exceptionalist identity.
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