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Making Race, Making Power

Making Race, Making Power: North Carolina's Road to Disfranchisement

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Making Race, Making Power
    Book Description:

    In this groundbreaking study, Kent Redding examines the fluid political landscape of the nineteenth-century South, revealing the complex interplay between the elites manipulation of political and racial identity and the innovative mobilizing strategies marginalized groups adopted in order to combat disfranchisement. _x000B_Far from being a low-level, localized trend, the struggle for power in North Carolina would be felt across the entire country as race-and class-based organizing challenged the dominant models of making and holding power._x000B_Redding reveals how the ruling class operates with motivations and methods very similar to those of the black voters and Populist farmers they fought against. He tracks how the elites co-opted the innovative mobilizing strategies of the subaltern groups to effectively use their own weapons against them. _x000B_At the core of Making Race, Making Power is an insightful dissection of the concrete connections between political strategies of solidarity and exclusion and underlying patterns of race relations._x000B__x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09223-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The U.S. civil rights movement is among the most-studied and best-understood political movements, as scholars have tried to learn how a seemingly powerless group mobilized to challenge racial segregation and retrieve a most fundamental right, the right to vote. It is curious, then, that we know comparatively less about the collective mobilization to implement disfranchisement and segregation in the South than we know about the social movement to end them.

    It may seem odd to center attention on how powerful southern whites collectively mobilized to disfranchise poor and powerless southern blacks in the late nineteenth century. To many, the story...

  5. 1 The Structuring of Southern Voter Turnout
    (pp. 17-30)

    This chapter attempts to gauge the basic parameters of the franchise in the South¹ by analyzing southern voter turnout between 1880, prior to most disfranchisement regulation, and 1912, after basic forms of disfranchisement had been implemented in every southern state. As I examine patterns of voting as turnout declined from nearly 65 percent to less than 30 percent, I will be looking for the trace of disfranchisement to set the broader context for indepth analyses of the actual struggles that brought about disfranchisement in North Carolina.

    Racial division is a key part of the story, but here racial division is...

  6. 2 North Carolina Democratic Politics and Society in the 1880s: Democratic Control through Localism
    (pp. 31-57)

    Though often thought of as a “progressive” state relative to its regional counterparts after the turn of the century, North Carolina experienced a significant degree of racial conflict in its political system, most notably in the violent white supremacy campaigns of 1898 and 1900. Viewed from the perspective of the beginning of the twenty-first century, North Carolina’s descent into virulent racial politics at the end of the nineteenth may appear as a rather linear and inevitable result of white racism and the needs of a labor-repressive agricultural system. Viewed from the ground in the 1880s, however, the path that state...

  7. 3 Making and Blocking Republican Power
    (pp. 58-73)

    Even as the localist-oriented North Carolina Democratic party was successfully organizing and mobilizing its largely white constituency, it was facing strong challenges to its rule in the 1870s and especially the 1880s. These threats were directed not merely to the party’s control of state and local government but to the very form of political organization by which that control had been achieved. The Democrats had regained power at state and local levels by rebuilding and capitalizing on existing vertical strings of social relations constructed around the economic resources of political elites, kinship, neighborhood, and local patronage. The challenges to this...

  8. 4 The Demise of Democratic Localism and the Rise of Populism
    (pp. 74-92)

    In the decade or so from the end of Reconstruction to the mid-1880s, North Carolina politics had developed certain patterns with respect to party policy and organizational strategies, as discussed in the previous two chapters. The state Republican party had experienced its greatest success in its ability to promote and take advantage of remarkably strong black political activity during and after Reconstruction. The policy basis of that activity and loyalty had weakened by 1885 as Republicans had done relatively little to advance black interests since the end of Reconstruction. But the earlier policies targeted specifically at blacks, along with later...

  9. 5 The Failed Alternatives to Democratic Rule: Movement-Party Disjunctions in Populism
    (pp. 93-111)

    A core premise of this book has been that the fit between patterns of social relations and mechanisms of political mobilization and established institutions is central to processes of power making. If patterns of social relations, which may or may not conform to preconceived social categories such as race and class, change significantly and powerholders fail to adapt to such changes by either altering the ways in which they mobilize support or changing the institutional rules by which that support gets translated into institutional control, the powerholders will likely face stiff challenges from marginal groups better placed to tap into...

  10. 6 Democrats Transformed, Democracy Undone
    (pp. 112-134)

    By 1897, the weaknesses in both the Populist and Republican parties and the strains in the relationship between them were becoming more and more manifest. In addition to the disjunctures between the Alliance movement and party organizations of populism, the Republican party also found itself beset with internal organizational problems. Moreover, now that the fusionists had accomplished the primary goal that had initially united them into a marriage of convenience—democratic reform of the state’s political system—the two parties found themselves increasingly clashing on important issues upon which they had heretofore agreed to disagree.

    The weaknesses of the fusionists...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 135-138)

    At the outset, I proposed that new insights into political power could be gained by shifting attention away from standard questions of who and why (who made power and why did they do it, what was their motivation?) to questions of how and when. The analysis suggests that the forces driving North Carolina politics were never a mere product of class position or racial attribute, but developed and became enacted as collectivities formed and struggled to mobilize power. What mattered were the means as much as the motives of political action.

    Democratic elites were able to make and regain power...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 139-164)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-176)
  14. Index
    (pp. 177-180)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-182)