- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: June 2018
- Print publication year: 2018
- Online ISBN: 9781316577165
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316577165
Before the Civil War, colonization schemes and black laws threatened to deport former slaves born in the United States. Birthright Citizens recovers the story of how African American activists remade national belonging through battles in legislatures, conventions, and courthouses. They faced formidable opposition, most notoriously from the US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott. Still, Martha S. Jones explains, no single case defined their status. Former slaves studied law, secured allies, and conducted themselves like citizens, establishing their status through local, everyday claims. All along they argued that birth guaranteed their rights. With fresh archival sources and an ambitious reframing of constitutional law-making before the Civil War, Jones shows how the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, and black Americans' aspirations were realized. Birthright Citizens tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans.
Eric Foner - author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery
Annette Gordon-Reed - author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Tera W. Hunter - author of Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century
Ibram X. Kendi - author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Tiya Miles - author of The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits
Dylan Penningroth - author of The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South
K. M. Gannon Source: Choice
Robert J. Cottrol Source: The Journal of American History
Mark A. Graber Source: American Historical Review
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