Democracy in the United States is under threat. The Trump administration’s attack on the legacy of the civil rights movement is undermining America’s claims to be a multi-racial democracy. <br /> <br /> This moment of peril has worrying parallels with a previous era of American history. The gains of the Reconstruction era after the civil war, which saw African Americans given full democratic rights, were totally reversed within a generation. There is a serious risk that the advances of the civil rights era – the ‘Second Reconstruction’ – will go the same way unless we learn from the past and appreciate that American democracy has never been a story of linear progress. Skilfully analysing the similarities – and the differences – between the 1870s and the 2010s, Johnson outlines a political strategy for avoiding a disastrous repetition of history in in the twilight of the Second Reconstruction.<br /> <br /> Anyone interested in seeing the Trump presidency in wider historical context, from students of race, politics and history in the US to the interested general reader, will find this book an essential and sobering guide to our past – and, if we’re not careful, our future.
?Richard Johnson?s brilliant comparison of America?s ?two reconstructions? powerfully argues that multiracial democracy in the U.S. is under real threat. But Johnson does more than wake us up. He also outlines the politics that can address the crisis.?<br /> <b>Rick Valelly, Swarthmore College</b> <p>?Johnson?s analysis of the two Reconstructions convincingly ?lays waste to the blithe narratives of American exceptionalism? by arguing that only a forceful commitment to a multi-racial party politics and the Re-Construction of anti-democratic institutions can lead the U.S. towards a more democratic and inclusive future. A sobering read.? <br /><b>Kimberley Johnson, New York University</b>
<b>Richard Johnson</b> is Lecturer in US Politics and International Relations at Lancaster University
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