Public Program, Online Event The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War Register registration required at no cost 17 May 2021.Monday, 5:30PM - 6:30PM This is an online program Van Gosse, Franklin and Marshall College Image entitled /2012/juniper/assets/section37/Spring_2021/153725874_10157845056792724_6935599351028128157_o.jpg

It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disenfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections. Van Gosse offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution's ratification through Abraham Lincoln’s election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.