The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War

History & Heritage

October 23, 2021

Dale-Engle-Walker House


Van Gosse, Professor of History and Chair of Africana Studies, Franklin and Marshall College, will lead a discussion on his meticulously-researched book "The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War". Prof. Gosse provides a new look at American democracy from the ratification of the Constitution through the election of Abraham Lincoln, and the rise of organized Black politics, citizenship, voting, and power in free / non-slavery states. “It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections.”

The program and book-signing are free and open to the public. A special UCHS members-only "meet-and-greet" with Prof. Gosse will follow the program.

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