The Vortex of Racial Disenfranchisement

in The Two Reconstructions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780226845289
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226845272 | DOI:
The Vortex of Racial Disenfranchisement

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Taking a comparative perspective, black disenfranchisement is a unique outcome. No major social group in Western political history other than African Americans ever entered the electorate of an established democracy en masse and then was more or less democratically pushed out, without accompanying change in the basic forms of the political regime. With the disintegration of the first reconstruction's legacies, a second reconstruction of southern electoral politics became necessary for America to again become the kind of biracial democracy that the United States pioneered after the Civil War. This chapter illuminates this development by covering several topics. First, it discusses the making of disenfranchisement. Second, it traces northern Republican acceptance of disenfranchisement. Third, it discusses other groups that might have stood by African Americans and how they did (or could) not make common cause with their fellow citizens. Fourth, it traces the direct impact on African Americans. Finally, the chapter draws in broad strokes the metamorphosis the polity underwent in response.

Keywords: black disenfranchisement; social group; Civil War; African Americans; democracy; political regime

Chapter.  11027 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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