Representation and Imposed Democratization: Evidence from Black Enfranchisement during Reconstruction

43 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2021

See all articles by Mario Chacon

Mario Chacon

NYU

Jeffrey L. Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Sidak Yntiso

New York University

Date Written: April 1, 2021

Abstract

The failure of Reconstruction is widely seen as a key factor in the social and economic status of African Americans today. Despite the imposed extension of the franchise to the formerly enslaved, Southern elites used violence and other extralegal means to regain power and ultimately remove these newly granted rights. In this paper, we study the importance of enforcement of political rights on the ability of the formerly enslaved to achieve political power during Reconstruction. We use data on the location of federal troops to predict the election of black politicians in the Congressionally-mandated state constitutional conventions and subsequent state legislatures. We use various estimation strategies, including exploiting railway coverage at the time of occupation, two-way fixed effects models, and an instrumental variable model, to analyze patterns of black representation state legislative bodies. We find that enforcement principally impacted representation through minority turnout. In light of the recent Supreme Court decisions to weaken the enforcement mechanisms of the Voting Rights Act and subsequent legislative efforts to suppress minority turnout, our evidence has implications on minority representation to this today.

Keywords: extension of the franchise, political violence, military occupation

JEL Classification: N11, N41, H70

Suggested Citation

Chacon, Mario L and Jensen, Jeffrey and Yntiso, Sidak, Representation and Imposed Democratization: Evidence from Black Enfranchisement during Reconstruction (April 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3817664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3817664

Mario L Chacon (Contact Author)

NYU ( email )

Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York Unive
New York, NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mariochacon.com

Jeffrey Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Sidak Yntiso

New York University ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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