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Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation
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Basic Books 2016
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Why did the Founding Fathers fail to include blacks and Indians in their cherished proposition that "all men are created equal"? Racism is the usual answer. Yet Nicholas Guyatt argues in Bind Us Apart that white liberals from the founding to the Civil War were not confident racists, but tortured reformers conscious of the damage that racism would do to the nation. Many tried to build a multiracial America in the early nineteenth century, but ultimately adopted the belief that non-whites should create their own republics elsewhere: in an Indian state in the West, or a colony for free blacks in Liberia. Herein lie the origins of "separate but equal."
Essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today's racial tensions, Bind Us Apart reveals why racial justice in the United States continues to be an elusive goal: despite our best efforts, we have never been able to imagine a fully inclusive, multiracial society.

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Street Date:
04/26/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780465065615
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APA Citation (style guide)

Nicholas Guyatt. (2016). Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation. Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Nicholas Guyatt. 2016. Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation. Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Nicholas Guyatt, Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation. Basic Books, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Nicholas Guyatt. Bind Us Apart: How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation. Basic Books, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Why did the Founding Fathers fail to include blacks and Indians in their cherished proposition that "all men are created equal"? Racism is the usual answer. Yet Nicholas Guyatt argues in Bind Us Apart that white liberals from the founding to the Civil War were not confident racists, but tortured reformers conscious of the damage that racism would do to the nation. Many tried to build a multiracial America in the early nineteenth century, but ultimately adopted the belief that non-whites should create their own republics elsewhere: in an Indian state in the West, or a colony for free blacks in Liberia. Herein lie the origins of "separate but equal."
Essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today's racial tensions, Bind Us Apart reveals why racial justice in the United States continues to be an elusive goal: despite our best efforts, we have never been able to imagine a fully inclusive, multiracial society.

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title
Bind Us Apart
fullDescription

Why did the Founding Fathers fail to include blacks and Indians in their cherished proposition that "all men are created equal"? Racism is the usual answer. Yet Nicholas Guyatt argues in Bind Us Apart that white liberals from the founding to the Civil War were not confident racists, but tortured reformers conscious of the damage that racism would do to the nation. Many tried to build a multiracial America in the early nineteenth century, but ultimately adopted the belief that non-whites should create their own republics elsewhere: in an Indian state in the West, or a colony for free blacks in Liberia. Herein lie the origins of "separate but equal."
Essential reading for anyone hoping to understand today's racial tensions, Bind Us Apart reveals why racial justice in the United States continues to be an elusive goal: despite our best efforts, we have never been able to imagine a fully inclusive, multiracial society.

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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 14, 2016
        Guyatt, a University of Cambridge history lecturer with expertise in U.S. race and religious history, examines how liberal voices in the formative years of the U.S. sought to end slavery and integrate Native Americans into white society. Working from primary sources, he clearly lays out how reformers intended to accomplish these obstacle-strewn goals. For African-Americans, the most radical approach was a path to full political emancipation and integration, but a competing approach hoped to facilitate colonization by a freed slave population in the western U.S. or Africa. Emancipation presented a conundrum because there was general agreement that slaves could not enter society until the “degradation” caused by slavery was reversed, but the most accepted mechanism for reversal was the wholly unrealistic “amalgamation”—a mixing of the races via intermarriage and interbreeding. It is Guyatt’s well-supported thesis that segregation was the default result of the failure of these strategies. Guyatt’s parallel treatment of efforts to integrate Native Americans details the challenges reformers faced, including the failure of the fledging government to honor negotiated treaties and Native Americans’ desires to maintain their lands and traditions. Guyatt’s documentation of the historic failure to integrate African-Americans and Native Americans into white society is a timely and instructive look at how deeply racism is embedded in America’s past.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2016
        How the concept of "separate but equal" emerged from whites' inability to envision full civil rights for blacks and Native Americans after emancipation. The failed universal assertion that "all men are created equal" continues to haunt America's history of racial relations. In this compelling work of wide research, Guyatt (History/Univ. of Cambridge; Providence and the Invention of the United States, 1607-1876, 2007, etc.) delineates how the subtle arguments over colonization and removal were actually articulated by progressive reformers from the earliest era. Contradictions abound: while most early framers and "liberals" did generally believe in the Enlightenment notion that nonwhites could achieve their full potential when offered the proper environment, reformers could not get past what they saw as slavery's "degradation" of the human condition, thus hindering blacks and Native Americans from being incorporated as full citizens. This "degradation" occurred from integration among whites--especially as Indians were continually pushed out of their land, corrupted by alcohol and treachery, and blacks were abused and ill-educated--and thus the happy ideal of "one nation only" began to give way to visions of separate colonies for nonwhites to keep them from being "ruined" by the majority. Guyatt points out how the War of 1812 brought home the "recognition among liberal Americans that the United States itself had become the obstacle to Indian advancement." Moreover, despite early experiments, anti-slavery reformers such as missionaries and magazine editors could not stomach the thought of "amalgamation," as was practiced in the South as an open secret. As a British historian, the author brings up some fascinating comparative examples--e.g., prominent reformer Granville Sharp's efforts to establish a free-labor colony in Sierra Leone. As a popular solution to "the negro problem," the influential American Colonization Society was supported by the most freethinking men of the day--e.g., James Monroe, the Marquis de Lafayette--yet it could not overcome fears of the social consequences of abolition. A nuanced study of the illusory, troubling early arguments over emancipation and integration.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2016

        Strongly influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the founding fathers extolled principles such as "all men are created equal." Yet, they consciously failed to consider the role of African Americans and Native Americans in the country they created. Many authors have concluded that their actions were the result of racism. Historian Guyatt (history, Univ. of Cambridge) posits that the liberals of the early republic were not racists, but were instead reformers who wished to establish a multicultural society yet ultimately capitulated to regional politics. They then endeavored to give these minority groups freedom in areas outside U.S. borders. Their plan was ultimately adopted, resulting in the creation of "Indian Country," i.e., present-day Oklahoma, and a republic for African Americans in Liberia. In doing so, they produced the "separate but equal" doctrine, which had previously been credited to the Jim Crow South following Reconstruction. VERDICT This compelling monograph is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries. On the treatment of Native Americans, see Paul VanDevelder's Savages and Scoundrels: The Untold Story of America's Road to Empire Through Indian Territory. Readers should also consider Marie Tyler-McGraw's An African Republic: Black & White Virginians in the Making of Liberia.--John R. Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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How Enlightened Americans Invented Racial Segregation
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