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Maureen Connors Santelli, Associate Professor of History, Northern Virginia Community College | “The Grassroots Mobilization of American Philhellenism”
Popular support for the Greek Revolution in the United States garnered national attention at a level unparalleled to any other international event in the early 19th century. Early Americans supported the Greek cause because they felt a strong, sympathetic tie with the ancient Greeks and because they had a long-standing distrust for the Muslim World. American philhellenes believed the Greek Revolution would be successful if the Greeks followed the United States’ example regarding the course of the revolution and the type of government they should eventually establish. Although they were not interested in nation-building in the modern sense, American philhellenes did imagine they were engaging in a civic duty by aiding the Greeks to create a free nation in the image of the United States. At a time when politics and slavery had begun to pull the North and South apart, support for the Greek Revolution brought Americans from all classes and regions together in one of the first humanitarian efforts in the early United States.
The HUC@UCLA lecture is co-sponsored by the Embassy of Greece in USA. Her Excellency Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, will provide opening remarks.
Maureen Santelli attended the University of Montana in Missoula, where she earned undergraduate degrees in History and Classics. Santelli’s combined interests in ancient Greece, Rome, and early American history inspired her research as a graduate student at George Mason University, where she completed her Master’s and Ph.D. Santelli has completed fellowships at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia. Currently, she is an associate professor at Northern Virginia Community College where she teaches United States, western civilization, and world history courses. She has published an article with Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, “Depart from that Retired Circle:” Women’s Support of the Greek War for Independence and Antebellum Reform. Her recent book, The Greek Fire: American-Ottoman Relations and Democratic Fervor in the Age of Revolutions, examines the rise of philhellenism in the United States and how the movement influenced both foreign and domestic policies during the early American republic.
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