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Still a House DividedRace and Politics in Obama's America$
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Desmond S. King and Rogers M. Smith

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142630

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142630.001.0001

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“That is the last speech he will ever make”

“That is the last speech he will ever make”

The Antebellum Racial Alliances

(p.35) Chapter 2 “That is the last speech he will ever make”
Still a House Divided

Desmond S. King

Rogers M. Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the formation of political alliances centered on differences over racial politics in antebellum America. Even before there was a Constitution, there were pro-slavery and anti-slavery alliances in the not-so-United States. Indeed, the Declaration of Independence, which embedded the rhetoric of human equality and inalienable rights into American political culture, still sought to justify tribal subjugation (by denouncing “merciless Indian Savages”) and to avoid criticism of chattel slavery (by editing out Jefferson's language attacking the slave trade). Throughout the antebellum era, pro-slavery forces retained great power, particularly in regard to the protection of slavery where it was already established. Moreover, the chapter considers how racial politics continued to shape American life—particularly for the disenfranchised people of color—during the period of transition after the Civil War.

Keywords:   antebellum America, American Civil War, pro-slavery alliances, anti-slavery alliances, slavery, African Americans, antebellum racial alliances

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