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The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

Presented by Massachusetts Historical Society at Online/Virtual Space

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May 17 2021
The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

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.

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