Joshua A. Lynn
University of Virginia Press
Author Joshua Lynn reveals in his book “Preserving the White Man’s Republic” (ePub) how the national Democratic Party rebranded liberal individualism and majoritarian democracy as conservative means for white men in the North and South to preserve their mastery on the eve of the American Civil War. This rebranding was accomplished by the national Democratic Party.
In the late 1840s and early 1850s, in response to concerns about the political agency of women and African Americans, Democrats 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 stifling rights. This occurred during the time period of the Jacksonian democracy. The Democratic Party adhered to the doctrine of “popular sovereignty,” which meant that they put the expansion of slavery in the hands of white men’s democratic decision-making. In addition, they guaranteed white men’s rights to municipal democracy as well as individual autonomy in matters of religion, temperance, and nativism. The Democrats succeeded in uniting white males across the country and transforming democracy into a conservative affirmation of white manhood by transforming white men’s dominance in the family into political power over all Americans and women of color.
Traditional Jacksonian ideals such as grassroots democracy, anti-statism, and liberal individualism became cornerstones of the conservative ideology as a result of the Democratic Party’s influence. As the book by Lynn demonstrates, this movement set conservatism on a new, populist trajectory; one in which democracy may be called upon to justify hierarchy and inequality; a distinctly American conservatism that persists in our republic even to this day.
A significant contribution to the academic world. One of its many merits is its complex and nuanced understanding of the ideology of the Democrats during a crucial moment in the party’s existence, which is also one of its many other qualities. — Author and professor at Brigham Young University, Matthew Mason is well known for his book “Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett.”
Joshua Lynn is one of those rare historians who is able to provide a topic that has been studied for a long time a fresh perspective by unearthing odd materials and gaining brand new understandings.
Original, timely, and beautifully written, Preserving the White Man’s Republic argues that antebellum Democrats fashioned a white nationalism that pushed the process of disunion and left a lasting legacy of racism that is inextricably linked to conservatism. The book argues that this legacy is inextricably linked to conservatism.
Lynn writes a brilliant brand of political history about ideas, which is exactly what the profession so desperately needs right now. — David W. Blight is a professor at Yale University and the author of the book Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.
NOTE: This offer is for the ePub version of the ebook “Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism,” but it does not include any other versions of the book. There are no access codes contained within.