Defending freedom
in Sovereignty and superheroes
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This chapter continues the examination of sovereign legitimacy by looking at the figure of Captain America. Rather than Superman directing us towards the future, this chapter argues that Captain America directs us to beginnings. Primarily to the founding of the American Constitution. I argue that Captain America’s transcendence directs us to the promise enshrined in that constitution to preserve what Hannah Arendt calls a ‘space of appearance’ in which the freedom of initiating speech and action can be sustained. This space is irreducible to any government or social institution, which explains why Captain America is constantly at odds with the government he is supposed to represent. The chapter also addresses the nature of his patriotism and the supposed friends of America that he is regularly called on to defeat.


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