PIPE* Workshop: Melissa Lee, Princeton

November 6, 2020 - January 24, 2021
12:00 PM

From Pluribus to Unum? Statebuilding in 19th Century America

Presented by Melissa Lee, Assistant Professor of Politics & International Affairs at Princeton University

Over the course of the 19th century, Americans stopped thinking of the United States as a federative entity comprised of multiple, equal sovereign states and started thinking of it as a single national entity.

This transformation is evident in the well-documented grammatical change in which the phrase “United States” shifted from a plural noun to a singular noun. We use this shift as a lens to study where, when, and why this political transformation occurs we analyze all Congressional speeches between 1852–1914.

We expect that characteristics such as military service, connectedness, and exposure to the federal government account for the spread of the idea of the United States as a single political entity.


*Political Institutions & Political Economy

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


University Park Campus




Please register in advance for this Zoom event


Price School of Public Policy