By Michael Bennett

"An arresting publication that juxtaposes significant and minor antebellum texts to advance its personal democratic discourse. Michael Bennett writes with verve and brio, and provides a few juicy surprises."—David Leverenz, college of Florida

Ever because the hallowed assertion, "All males are created equal," was once penned within the statement of Independence, it has turn into a historic guideline that freedom and equality have been dropped at American beaches by means of the so-called Founding Fathers.

In this path-breaking research, Michael Bennett departs from culture to argue that the democratic excellent of equality and the particular ways that it's been practiced are grounded much less within the fledgling executive files written by means of a handful of white males than within the activities and writings of the unconventional abolitionists of the 19th century. Bringing jointly key texts of either African American and eu American authors, Democratic Discourses exhibits the real ways in which abolitionist writing formed a strong counterculture inside a slave-holding society. Bennett bargains clean new research via strange pairings of authors, together with Frederick Douglass with Henry David Thoreau, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper with Walt Whitman, and Margaret Fuller with Sojourner fact. those rereadings stay away from the tendency to view antebellum writing as a product essentially of both eu American or African American affects and, in its place, illustrate the interconnections of white and black literature within the construction and perform of democracy.

Drawing on discourses approximately race, the physique, gender, economics, and aesthetics, this distinct research encourages readers to reassess the truth and roots of freedoms skilled within the usa today.

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