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Terror in the Heart of FreedomCitizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South$
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Hannah Rosen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832028

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888568_rosen

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A Constitutional Convention

A Constitutional Convention

(p.133) Chapter Four A Constitutional Convention
Terror in the Heart of Freedom

Hannah Rosen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the momentous task put upon the shoulders of the delegates to Arkansas's constitutional convention who met in Little Rock in January 1868. They were to design a new state constitution establishing for the first time in Arkansas a democracy without regard to race and thereby incorporating former slaves into the political community as equal citizens. This would be Arkansas's first postemancipation constitution, and it had to meet the requirements of the federal Reconstruction Acts. Above all, it had to establish universal male suffrage and thus extend previously denied voting rights to African American men. On the eighteenth day of the gathering, however, John Bradley, a white southern delegate representing white-majority Bradley County, took the floor and argued that the revolutionary potential of Reconstruction—which he intended to resist—lay elsewhere.

Keywords:   Arkansas's constitutional convention, Little Rock, new state constitution, former slaves, democracy, political community, equal citizens

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