chapter  1
21 Pages

Introduction

Th is book traces the transformation of slaves into subordinate citizens in the U.S. South, in order to reassess the relation between race and republican and liberal accounts of citizenship in America. In the late 1860s, the federal government of the United States initiated the most abrupt transition from slavery to citizenship to take place in the Americas. Since Aristotle, it had been common to link citizenship with independence, yet within a few short years the United States transformed a dependent labor force into politically engaged citizens. Th e transformation, of course, did not stick, but it did permanently alter the terms on which American citizenship would be granted, and initiated a century long struggle over the place of African Americans in the American polity.