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5 - The White Democracy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2019

Gerald Leonard
Affiliation:
Boston University
Saul Cornell
Affiliation:
Fordham University, New York
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Summary

After the War of 1812, the ascent of democratic culture foreshadowed the triumph of democratic constitutionalism. But the constitutionalization of democracy generally meant the enfranchisement of the white democracy alone and even firmer subordination of black Americans. Southern states insisted on solid guarantees of their right to hold black Americans in slavery. Northern states widely deprived their black citizens of the vote and other civil rights, just as they expanded such rights among white men. The Missouri Crisis and the New York Constitutional Convention of 1821 demonstrated the growing dominance of anti-black racism in American constitutionalism. But they also showed that questions of race would durably complicate the established constitutional conflicts among white men over states’ rights and national power, pitting the white-supremacist, states-rights Democratic Party against the weakening advocates of national power and slavery-abolition.
Type
Chapter
Information
The Partisan Republic
Democracy, Exclusion, and the Fall of the Founders' Constitution, 1780s–1830s
, pp. 146 - 177
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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