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Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism


In the populist idiom of contemporary American politics, “The people” are often relied upon to forestall social change. In “Preserving the White Man’s Republic,” Joshua Lynn investigates the antebellum origins of modern conservatives’ reliance on local majorities to democratically withhold rights. This book charts how Jacksonian Democrats deployed majoritarian rule to defend the white man’s republic they had crafted in the early nineteenth century.

SKU: 010000538 Categories: ,



Responding to fears of African American and female political agency, Democrats in the late 1840s and 1850s reinvented themselves as “conservatives” and repurposed Jacksonian Democracy as a tool for local majorities of white men to police racial and gender boundaries by democratically withholding rights. With the policy of “popular sovereignty,” Democrats left slavery’s expansion to white men’s democratic decision-making. They also promised white men local democracy and individual autonomy regarding temperance, religion, and nativism. Translating white men’s household mastery into political power over women and Americans of color, Democrats united white men nationwide and made democracy a conservative assertion of white manhood.

Written by Joshua A. Lynn.  Published by the University of Virginia Press in 2019.

271 pages (including the index). Hard cover.

Additional information

Weight 18.6 oz
Dimensions 9.25 × 6.25 × .80 in

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Did You Know?

Earl Rebman’s scrap drive accumulated 1,000 tons for the war effort on September 13, 1942.