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American CreedPhilanthropy and the Rise of Civil Society, 1700–1865$
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Kathleen D. McCarthy

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226561981

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226561998.001.0001

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Civil Society/Civil Disorder

Civil Society/Civil Disorder

(p.144) 7 Civil Society/Civil Disorder
American Creed
University of Chicago Press

Historians writing during the reformist 1960s often portrayed men such as Tappan as fanatics bent on pursuing a destructive and unpopular cause. Economic considerations also undoubtedly figured into the decision to promote public disorder. Although some scholars argue that abolitionism ultimately helped to promote capitalism by extolling the virtues of free labor over slavery, this interpretation would have been lost on many antebellum Americans. Racial animosities also helped to fuel the public disorder that was emerging from the volatile brew of Jacksonian politics and philanthropy. Political leaders often fanned these resentments as a means of building solidarity and winning partisan allies. Northern African American leaders initially responded to mob attacks and growing political repression by developing an impressive array of secular institutions for education, moral reform, and political protest within their own communities—a pattern that echoed the growth of the abolitionist movement in the wake of the gag rule.

Keywords:   Jacksonian politics, philanthropy, racism, civil disorder, reformist

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