chapter  3
27 Pages

“Dead Votes”: Reconstructing Citizenship and Dependence

Th e background factual assertion of the previous chapter, that race became deeply associated with slavery in the antebellum South, and by extension, in American political culture more broadly, hardly breaks new ground. My purpose has been to show, fi rst, that the association was not simply of race with slavery, but of racial inferiority with dependence more broadly conceived. Indeed so close was the connection that the lines of association could run in the other direction: economic dependence could generate claims about racial inferiority, for example. Second, I argued that establishing the legitimacy of racial slavery entailed extending metaphors of household dependency through presumptions of racial diff erence. Th e argument turned on a kind of analogy, in which race transformed permanent nonkin dependents into “childlike” or “wifelike” benefi ciaries of paternalist rule.