Alexander Keyssar. The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. New York: Basic Books, xxiv + pp. $ (paper). The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. Front Cover. Alexander Keyssar. Basic Books, Jun 30, – History – pages . Keyssar, Alexander. The right to vote: the contested history of democracy in the United States /. Alexander Keyssar p. cm. Includes index. ISBN X.

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The Will of the People. Keyssar also presents a controversial thesis: If you find any of these details interesting, you should read this book. In a comprehensive yet highly readable study, Keyssar lays out U.

The right to vote : the contested history of democracy in the United States

Return to Book Page. Gladstone a century later would call “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain of man” was complete. While there were eras of genuine progress in expanding the franchise, there were also eras when voting rights were taken away from some groups that had previously voted. The Invention of Party Politics.

Although in the years after the American Revolution, real and personal property requirements on voting were abandoned, they were often replaced by tax-paying requirements which lasted for deca When Alexander Keyssar of Harvard University started to research voting in America, he was shocked to find that nobody had done a comprehensive history of the subject.

Library Locations and Hours. Supreme Court For Dummies. Those who opposed any expansion of suffrage also relied heavily on the belief that in order to vote a person had to be independent.

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The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan: Basic BooksJun 30, – History – pages. The evidence is mixed.

What also is unclear is just how many people could and did vote. These concerns also prompted other restrictions on voting. We appreciate your feedback. Women were barred expressly in several colonies, including Virginia, but statutes elsewhere made no reference to gender, and in at least a thr Massachusetts towns and New York counties propertied widows did legally vote.

That they would succeed in devising a constitution acceptable to the twelve states that had sent them not to mention Rhode Island, which tje declined the invitation to attend was far from certain; several impasses were reached in the first two months of deliberation, and by the end of July, many of the delegates were frustrated, impatient, and tired.


Indeed, in early English usage, the keyswar franchise referred to a privilege, immunity, or freedom that a state could grant, while the term suffrage alluded to intercessory prayers. Institutions of American Democracy. On the whole, the franchise was far more widespread than it was in England, yet as the revolution approached, the rate of property ownership was falling, and the proportion of adult white males who were eligible to vote was probably less than 60 percent.

Publisher’s Weekly Review HAmerica’s self-image as the land of democracy flows from the belief that we’ve long enjoyed universal suffrageDor at least aspired to it.

Remarkably, this new constitution, born in keysssar of “republican government,” did not grant anyone the right to vote. The first was that men who possessed property especially “real property,” i. Examining th Most Americans take for granted their right to vote, whether they choose to exercise it or not. Landowners would maximize their political power if the franchise were tied to freehold ownership, while city dwellers, shopkeepers, and artisans had a direct interest in replacing freehold requirements with taxpaying or personal property qualifications.

You’ve successfully reported this review. The Fragility of Law.

The Right To Vote The Contested History Of Democracy In The United States

Some broadening of the franchise certainly occurred: Challenging my assumption about the history of voting in the US and the philosophical underpinnings of various approaches to voting, to say nothing of the different not so laudatory factors which have been applied as well. At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer’s personal information. Yet there were also locales–including coastal towns e. For better treatment of that, read Give us the Ballot, which is much more focused and interesting.

The First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts convincingly shows that, though distinctive in some ways, the evolution of the franchise in America is similar to that in other countries: A More Perfect Constitution.

I learned allexander lot that surprised me, and a few things that made me very sad. Freedmen of African or Amerindian descent were denied the ballot in much of the South.


Thomas Paine also believed, in the s, that voters should be personally independent, but by the experience of two revolutions had changed his mind and led him to advocate universal suffrage.

Keyssar presents convincing evidence that the history of the right to vote has not been one of a steady history of expansion and increasing inclusion, noting that voting rights contracted hhe in the U. Furthermore, ideas–whether or not independent of interests–mattered to the haves and have nots alike. But it is of greater importance to demonstrate how this attitude was consitently proven false in hindsight.

The Right To Vote The Contested History Of Democracy In The United States by Alexander Keyssar

To guarantee that those who were dependent could not too, several colonies formally barred all servants from the polls, while others expressly excluded paupers. Excerpts Chapter One In the Beginning Today a man owns a jackass worth fifty dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo vofe inMondadori.

I quite enjoyed those parts, and the topic, so I’d like to get around to reading the whole thing though Gordon Wood will come first. This must be the definitive history of voting in America. Shmoop US History Guide: In some states anyone who has been in prison can never vote again. Besides the Voting Rights Act in which finally opened voting in the South to blacks, the US Supreme Court went on a tear, striking down just about every requirement on voting, often with little historical or constitutional analysis behind their rulings.

Mar 02, Anthony Schein rated it liked it. The initial laws restricting the franchise to property owners generally were passed only decades after the colonies were settled, and in several colonies, including Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia which had a notably nonlinear franchise historyproperty requirements became more stringent over time.

Did the right to vote expand or contract during the colonial era? Published August 15th by Basic Books first published And of course the constant efforts at black disenfranchisement were unbelievable and totally unsurprising.