By Justin Behrend

Former slaves, without past adventure in electoral politics and with few financial assets or little major social status, created a sweeping political circulate that reworked the South after the Civil warfare. inside a couple of brief years after emancipation, not just have been black males balloting yet that they had elected hundreds of thousands of ex-slaves to political workplaces. Historians have lengthy famous the position of African American slaves within the struggle for his or her emancipation and their many efforts to safe their freedom and citizenship, but they've got given unusually little realization to the method of governance that freedpeople helped to style. Justin Behrend argues that freedpeople created a brand new democracy within the Reconstruction period, exchanging the oligarchic rule of slaveholders and Confederates with a grassroots democracy.

Reconstructing Democracy tells this tale during the reports of normal those who lived within the Natchez District, a area of the Deep South the place black political mobilization was once very winning. Behrend indicates how freedpeople arrange a political process rooted in egalitarian values in which neighborhood groups instead of strong contributors held energy and usual humans exercised extraordinary effect in governance. In so doing, he invitations us to re-examine not just our knowing of Reconstruction but additionally the character and origins of democracy extra broadly.

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