In the first half of the nineteenth century a broad set of interconnected movements serve to transform the understanding of citizenship into an increasingly individual basis. The issue of chattel slavery becomes increasingly prominent as the invention of the cotton gin shows that it is likely to remain economically viable; it is defended in the South as a positive good for all. In the context of the Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship to blacks, Frederick Douglass poses the issue of black citizenship the most forcefully. Abolitionism grows in strength but meets resistance in both North and South. A feminist movement develops: as with blacks, it demands citizenship for a group as a whole, rather than on an individual basis. Communitarian movements seek to recover some quality of shared virtue. All these movements raise the question of slavery in one form or another.
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