British attitudes toward Negro suffrage during American reconstruction

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rosemary Roberts Yardley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Richard Current

Abstract: This thesis outlines British attitudes toward Negro suffrage during the American Reconstruction period. To determine the nature of British opinion on this issue, a variety of sources were studied: newspapers, travelogues, consular reports, individual commentaries, and personal diaries and letters. These sources reflected opinion both pro and con, but the evidence strongly suggests that British opinion was against black enfranchisement. This opposition was based primarily on racism, on the belief that Negroes were innately inferior and therefore unfit to act as voters. In Victorian England, there was also a pervasive fear of revolutionary change, which, of course, Negro suffrage represented. Many Englishmen feared that the American example might encourage the movement for broadening the franchise in England. The question arises whether Negro suffrage in America did influence the passage of the British Reform Act of 1867, which extended the vote to one million workingmen. The tentative answer is that the American example had some impact.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1977

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