The Trial of Democracy
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The Trial of Democracy

Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-1910

Title Details

Pages: 480

Illustrations: 18 b&w photos

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 01/15/2012

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4084-5

List Price: $36.95

The Trial of Democracy

Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-1910

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  • Description
  • Reviews

After the Civil War, Republicans teamed with activist African Americans to protect black voting rights through innovative constitutional reforms—a radical transformation of southern and national political structures. The Trial of Democracy is a comprehensive analysis of both the forces and mechanisms that led to the implementation of black suffrage and the ultimate failure to maintain a stable northern constituency to support enforcement on a permanent basis.

The reforms stirred fierce debates over the political and constitutional value of black suffrage, the legitimacy of racial equality, and the proper sharing of power between the state and federal governments. Unlike most studies of Reconstruction, this book follows these issues into the early twentieth century to examine the impact of the constitutional principles and the rise of Jim Crow. Tying constitutional history to party politics, The Trial of Democracy is a vital contribution to both fields.

The Trial of Democracy covers this time period like no other work and provides a better context for discussion of Republican efforts to enfranchise African Americans.

—Michael Les Benedict, author of A Compromise of Principle: Congressional Republicans and Reconstruction, 1863–1869

Extensively researched and well written. Wang utilizes published and unpublished government documents as well as diaries, letters, and personal papers to synthesize the debate between Republican liberals, conservatives, and moderates and their opponents over the suffrage and enforcement issues.

Civil War History

Carefully researched and clearly written . . . Wang’s evidence has broad implications and might well force historians to rethink standard narratives of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age.

—Eric Anderson, Journal of Southern History

Wang's account . . . extends beyond the local and immediate origins of [Reconstruction’s] failure and in so doing provides a fuller account of the national-level forces and long-term costs.

—Virginia Quarterly Review

About the Author/Editor

XI WANG is a professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His books include Principles and Compromises: The Spirit and Practice of the American Constitution (in Chinese), and Discovering History in America: Reflections of Chinese Historians in the United States (in Chinese, coedited with Yao Ping). He also serves as the editor of the Chinese Historical Review, a transnational journal of history. A native of China, Wang regularly lectures on American history in Peking University, where he holds a Changjiang Professorship in the History Department.