The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present (Paperback)Allan J. Lichtman (author)
“A sweeping look at the history of voting rights in the U.S.”—Vox
Who has the right to vote? And who benefits from exclusion?
For most of American history, the right to vote has been a privilege restricted by wealth, sex, race, and literacy. Economic qualifications were finally eliminated in the nineteenth century, but the ideal of a white man’s republic persisted long after that. Women and racial minorities had to fight hard and creatively to secure their voice, but voter identification laws, registration requirements, and voter purges continue to prevent millions of American citizens from voting.
An award-winning historian and voting right activist, Allan Lichtman gives us the history behind today’s headlines. He shows that political gerrymandering and outrageous attempts at voter suppression have been a fixture of American democracy—but so have efforts to fight back and ensure that every citizen’s voice be heard.
“Lichtman uses history to contextualize the fix we’re in today. Each party gropes for advantage by fiddling with the franchise… Growing outrage, he thinks, could ignite demands for change. With luck, this fine history might just help to fan the flame.”
—New York Times Book Review
“The great value of Lichtman’s book is the way it puts today’s right-wing voter suppression efforts in their historical setting. He identifies the current push as the third crackdown on African-American voting rights in our history.”
—Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Number of pages: 336
Dimensions: 200 x 129 mm
Lichtman’s important book emphasizes the founders’ great blunder: They failed to enshrine a right to vote in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights…The Embattled Vote in America traces the consequences through American history…[Lichtman] uses history to contextualize the fix we’re in today…Growing outrage, he thinks, could ignite demands for change. With luck, this fine history might just help to fan the flame. - James A. Morone, New York Times Book Review
The great value of Lichtman’s book is the way it puts today’s right-wing voter suppression efforts in their historical setting. He identifies the current push as the third crackdown on African-American voting rights in our history. - Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books
A sweeping look at the history of voting rights in the U.S., focusing on the constant struggle to extend suffrage in this country. - Sean Illing, Vox
An important and timely work…Provides a general audience with historical context to improve public understanding of current voting rights controversies…Anyone concerned about this pressing public policy issue will find this book to be a valuable resource. - Rebecca J. Mead, Journal of American History
[A] sweeping history of the country’s ensuing struggles over voting rights…Provides ample historical and contemporary justifications for [his] policy prescriptions to ensure that American democracy remains credible and viable in the twenty-first century. - Scott J. Spitzer, Journal of Southern History
A noted authority on the history of American voting returns with a disturbing account of American political leaders who have, since the beginning of the republic, worked to limit the franchise. Lichtman…marches us through the dark history of voter limitation, from the Founders to now, and the images he paints are not flattering. The Constitution itself is vague about voting rights…and as Lichtman escorts us through the decades, we see an ugly pattern: people in power doing everything they can to remain so… The author examines a wide variety of discrimination: by race, gender, place of origin (immigrants, as he reminds us, have rarely been welcome here). He spends a lot of time exploring the denial and suppression of the African-American vote, and he notes how such efforts have succeeded and how they continue to dampen voter turnout… The author also explores the issue of ‘voter fraud’ that many (who wish to limit voting rights) have long raised. As Lichtman reveals, repeated studies have found virtually no evidence of it… An alarming, important, perhaps even essential book. - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Extraordinary and timely, The Embattled Vote in America reveals the politics and history of the right to vote, or, more importantly, the lack of the right to vote. Lichtman’s courtroom involvement with voting rights and the breadth and depth of his analysis underscore the significance of the vote in our democracy. A remarkable and provocative book that is essential reading for all citizens. - Orville Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Lincoln
Most compelling is the author’s extensive experience in voting rights cases over the last four decades, providing first-hand accounts of the ongoing battles to attain a voice in our democracy. His book is a call to arms and a must-read for any American interested in protecting our most fundamental right, the right to vote. - J. Gerald Hebert, Senior Director of Voting Rights and Redistricting, Campaign Legal Center
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