RECONSTRUCTION TERROR: ORIGINS, APPLICATIONS, AND IMPLICATIONS
Davison, Matthew R.
Brannan, David W.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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This thesis contends that the recent electoral violence that arose around election cycles, voting rights, and democratic participation by non-White citizens is a familiar extremism. It is a historic terror, rooted in Reconstruction. After the Civil War, America underwent a period of fundamental change that many considered revolutionary to their existing identities, and so that looming change was met with counter-revolutionary force and terror. But while historic, it is not anachronistic. A similar violence arose during America’s “Second Reconstruction,” the Civil Rights movement, which featured many of the same issues of equality and increased access to democratic processes by non-White communities. Accordingly, this thesis deconstructs the electoral terror of Reconstruction into a set of common drivers that can then be used as a framework for understanding what motivates episodic, electoral violence in the United States. Put together, these drivers contextualize a particular extremism that is common to the 1860s, the 1960s, and the early 21st century.
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