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Conclusion Democracy Against Capitalism In The Post-Civil-War United States

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Chapter Summary

The Civil War produced a profound radicalisation in the United States. The War necessitated a radical centralisation of the US-state. At the centre of this radicalisation were the Radical Republicans - the most consistent defenders of the Northern free-labour system. The era of Reconstruction in the United States was the crucible of the birth of liberal democracy as both capitalist world-view and restructured political institutions. The tumultuous class-conflicts of this era - between capitalist manufacturers and workers in the North, and landowning planters and their ex-slaves in the South-reshaped the theory and practice of democracy in the United States. In these class-struggles, every advance of the substantive democratic power of workers or former slaves challenged capitalist dominance. The stabilisation and establishment of capitalist social-property relations required the radical restriction of democracy, in the form of liberalism in the North, and legal racial segregation, disenfranchisement and racial terror in the South.

Keywords: capitalism; civil war; class-conflicts; democracy; free-labour system; racial segregation; radicalisation; slaves; social-property relation; United States

10.1163/ej.9789004201040.i-298.29
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