JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Fall 2017) Indeed, one of the tell-tale ways that slavery pricked the democratic conscience was the Three-Fifths Clause, which undemocratically aggrandized southern political power. But often when northern Federalists attacked the Three-Fifths Clause, northern Republicans became defensive and repaired to their standard fallback position of nationalist unity. Riley might emphasize more consistently that northern antislavery democrats lacked constitutional leverage, not just rhetorical and political consistency. Generally conversant with the ever-thickening historiography of slavery debates in the early republic, Rileyâs study functions well as political history, making a nice companion volume to Seth Cotlarâs awardwinning Tom Paineâs America: The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism in the Early Republic (Charlottesville, VA, 2011). Riley takes the story of dissipating radical energies farther forward in time and, by emphasizing slavery, exposes how being a party in power exacerbated internal contradictions. If the northern Jeffersoniansâ ultimate destinationâwhite menâs Jacksonian democracyâis familiar, Rileyâs particular roadmap is still well worth following. Da vid N . Ge llm an is Andrew Wallace Crandall Professor of History and chair of the History Department at DePauw University. He is the author of Emancipating New York: The Politics of Slavery and Freedom, 1777â1827
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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