Gift Shop Customer Service: (202) 554-8300

Skip to product information
1 of 1

Cambridge University Press

Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Regular price $19.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $19.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Paperback

By Martha S. Jones

Birthright Citizens tells how African American activists radically transformed the terms of citizenship for all Americans. 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 when the Fourteenth Amendment constitutionalized the birthright principle, the aspirations of black Americans' aspirations were realized.

View full details