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Bind Us Apart : How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation (Hardcover) (Nicholas Guyatt)

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""All men are created equal" is America's most cherished proposition. But for more than a century after Thomas Jefferson wrote those words, the Founding Fathers and their successors failed to extend the promise of the Declaration of Independence to blacks and Indians. Why? We take refuge in the notion that white people at the time were the prisoners of racist ideas and that we today are more enlightened. In this popular view, the history of America demonstrates how racist beliefs have been slowly discarded, with later generations realizing the dream of liberty and equality. But as Nick Guyatt argues in Bind Us Apart, white Americans from the founding to the Civil War were not confident racists who blithely condemned blacks and Indians to inferior status.Instead, they were confused and tortured souls, and often remarkably conscious of the damage that racism might do to the nation's future. They looked for ways to reconcile their principles and their prejudices, and sometimes succeeded: in the first decades of the United States, blacks went to the polls alongside whites in some northern states, and federal officials promoted intermarriage between Indians and frontier settlers in the hope that racial divisions would disappear in the West"--

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