In Preserving the White Man’s Republic (ePub) author Joshua Lynn discloses how the national Democratic Party rebranded liberal individualism and majoritarian democracy as conservative means for white men in the North and South and North to preserve their mastery on the eve of the Civil War.
Replying to fears of female and African American political agency, Democrats in the late 1840s and 1850s reinvented themselves as “conservatives” and repurposed Jacksonian Democracy as a tool for local majorities of white men to police gender and racial boundaries by democratically squashing rights. With the policy of “popular sovereignty,” Democrats entrusted slavery’s expansion to white men’s democratic decision-making. They also promised white men local democracy and individual autonomy regarding religion, temperance, and nativism. Converting white men’s household mastery into political power over all Americans and women of color, Democrats united white men nationwide and made democracy a conservative assertion of white manhood.
Democrats thus turned traditional Jacksonian principles—grassroots democracy, anti-statism, and liberal individualism,—into staples of conservatism. As Lynn’s ebook shows, this movement sent conservatism on a fresh, populist trajectory, one in which democracy can be called upon to legitimize hierarchy and inequality, a uniquely American conservatism that endures in our republic today.
A great work of scholarship. Its many strengths include strong research and rich and nuanced reading of Democrats’ ideology in a vital period in that party’s existence. — Matthew Mason, Brigham Young University, author of Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett
Joshua Lynn is one of those uncommon historians who can take an old subject and make it new by finding out unusual documents and crisply new insights. Preserving the White Man’s Republic is original, timely and beautifully written; antebellum Democrats fashioned a white nationalism that pushed the process of disunion and left a lasting legacy of racism inseparably linked to conservatism. Lynn does a sparkling kind of political history―about ideas―that the field greatly needs. — David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom
NOTE: This only includes the ebook Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism in the original ePub format. No access codes are included.