The Color Line of American Politics
In his classic The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. DuBois devotes an entire chapter to the Freedmen's Bureau, the Reconstruction-era government agency created to enact the formidable task of integrating newly emancipated blacks into American society. This chapter addresses several pertinent questions. It is commonly known that blacks are politically more liberal than whites. The chapter examines whether there is a consensus among blacks in their political attitudes toward government and the obligations it has toward citizens. Since the vast majority of blacks support the Democratic Party, it is commonly believed that political unanimity best characterizes their politics. The General Social Survey (GSS) and the National Elections Study (NES)— two of the most respected social scientific opinion surveys in the nation— contain data for investigating the attitudes of blacks and whites towards the role and scope of government. The chapter shows results from blacks and whites' responses to an NES question.