In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States

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Ohio University Press, Aug 13, 2008 - Social Science - 244 pages
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Historically, most black voters in the United States have aligned themselves with one of the two major parties: the Republican Party from the time of the Civil War to the New Deal and, since the New Deal—and especially since the height of the modern civil rights movement—the Democratic Party. However, as In the Balance of Power convincingly demonstrates, African Americans have long been part of independent political movements and have used third parties to advance some of the most important changes in the United States, notably the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, and the enforcement of civil rights.

Since the early nineteenth century, there has been an undercurrent of political independence among African Americans. They helped develop the Liberty Party in the 1840s and have continued to work with third parties to challenge the policies of the two major parties. But despite the legal gains of the modern civil rights movement, elements of Jim Crow remain deeply embedded in our electoral process.

In the Balance of Power presents a history and analysis of African American third-party movements that can help us better understand the growing diversity among black voters today.

 

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Contents

Declarations of Independence
9
Abolition the Liberty Party and Free Soil
27
Republicans Reconstructions and Fusion
54
Black Populism and the Negro Party
74
Black Communists Socialists and Nationalists
101
Civil Rights Black Power and Independent Politics
134
The Black and Independent Alliance in 2008
162
Acknowledgments
169
Recent Articles
171
Notes
173
Bibliography
219
Index
237
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Page 8 - Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.
Page 8 - He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.
Page 11 - Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

About the author (2008)

Omar H. Ali is an associate professor of African American and Diaspora History at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

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