‘… a Wretched, Down Trodden and Impoverished People.’ Terrorism, Propaganda, and the Failure of Democracy in Post-Civil War Louisiana

  • Mark Leon de Vries
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political History book series (PSPH)


The decade of Reconstruction that followed the American Civil War, was among other things a confrontation between two opposing visions of who were to be included within the scope of American citizenship—the notion of ‘we the people’ enshrined in the declaration and constitution. While a vocal minority of Radcial Republicans from (mostly) the North sought a nationally guaranteed citizenship that was to extend to the recently free black population, Southern whites sought to define citizenship more narrowly in ethno-racial terms. Using a combination of targeted political violence and a superficially race-neutral rhetoric that derived from an established tradition of localism and self-rule, the Southern vision succeed in displacing the more inclusive promise that Reconstruction briefly offered.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Leon de Vries
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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