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The Limits of Emancipation: Black Americans and White Southern Dominance of American Politics from the Founding to the Twenty-First Century

WithNeal Allen

This article argues that the power of Southern White politicians in the contemporary United States is best understood as the continuation of the historical exclusion of African-Americans from effective political power. This history of “distortion of democracy” includes the Southern-dominated Republican Party's filibuster of Obama administration policies, the Democratic filibuster of civil rights legislation in the middle twentieth century, the disenfranchisement of minority voters prior to the Voting Rights Act, and the two-thirds rule that gave the White South an effective veto over Democratic Presidential Nominations. Also older constitutional rules and patterns like the three-fifths clause, slave-state preferences in Supreme Court nominations, and the malapportioned Senate itself have been used by the White South to block the will of majority.