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The Right To Vote The Contested History Of Democracy In The United States

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Most Americans take for granted their right to vote, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But the history of suffrage in the U.S. is, in fact,the story of a struggle to achieve this right by our society's marginalized groups. In The Right to Vote, Duke historian Alexander Keyssar explores the evolution of suffrage over the course of the nation's history. Examining th ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published August 15th 2001 by Basic Books (first published 2000)
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Anthony Schein
i got this book for free at a conference here i totally pissed off the keynote. the book was okay. the conference was lame.
Patrick Sprunger
Americans who never take the time to learn about the history of suffrage grow up assuming the vote was expanded systematically, steadily, and with near universal support. We assume the opponents to universal suffrage were Archie Bunker types, recalcitrant members of an insecure old guard. We do not immediately picture mainstream, legitimate political parties and their supporters as tangible enemies of democracy. The real narrative of the history of American liberty takes a surprising form, with ...more
This is a great account of the long and twisty history of the right to vote in the U.S. so far. I learned a lot that surprised me, and a few things that made me very sad. Most striking is that the language justifying exclusion in terms of unworthiness to participate or the risk of fraud has been the same for so long. So much her is applicable to current voter suppression efforts and other debates about how and when we vote. It is at least reassuring that it is usually two steps forward and one s ...more
This must be the definitive history of voting in America. I hold back from giving it five stars because it was a little more than what I was looking for, but this is as thorough as I have ever come across. Also, I love charts and graphs, and he has a great array of tables at the end. Interesting tidbit was the role war played throughout American history in expanding the right to vote. Also, though we all know how the right to vote gradually expanded, but what many of us didn't realize was how th ...more
Thomas Stevenson
In 2012 the right to vote is being contested again. Republican state legislatures have passed laws requiring prospective voters have IDs. The aim is to prevent voter fraud, a crime even some Republicans acknowledge rarely happens. A look at the history of voting in the U.S. reveals that this is nothing new. In a comprehensive yet highly readable study, Keyssar lays out U.S. voting and the close relationship between those who get to vote and social class. A fascinating read.
It was a pendulum of suffrage expansion and contraction. Got kind of droll after 200 pages. The man knows his stuff but really, how long can you keep reading up on the same thing over and over again. The only surprise in the book is that people actually want the vote, after all that i would have just quit and moved up to Canada.
Sep 26, 2012 Susan is currently reading it
Informative and provocative. Challenging my assumption about the history of voting in the US and the philosophical underpinnings of various approaches to voting, to say nothing of the different not so laudatory factors which have been applied as well.
Scott Caplan
Jul 01, 2013 Scott Caplan is currently reading it
Parts of it were assigned for a voting rights seminar senior year. I quite enjoyed those parts, and the topic, so I'd like to get around to reading the whole thing (though Gordon Wood will come first).
Such an interesting book on a really interesting topic. My favorite of the books we've read so far for American Political History.
Very good history of the ups and downs of the franchise with interesting details.
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Alexander Keyssar is an American historian, and the Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard University.
More about Alexander Keyssar...
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