Around 1900, the southern states embarked on a series of political
campaigns aimed at disfranchising large numbers of voters. By 1908,
Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia had succeeded in
depriving virtually all African Americans, and a large number of
lower-class whites, of the voting rights they had possessed since
Reconstruction--rights they would not regain for over half a
Struggle for Mastery
is the most complete and systematic
study to date of the history of disfranchisement in the South.
After examining the origins and objectives of disfranchisement,
Michael Perman traces the process as it unfolded state by state.
Because he examines each state within its region-wide context, he
is able to identify patterns and connections that have previously
gone unnoticed. Broadening the context even further, Perman
explores the federal government's seeming acquiescence in this
development, the relationship between disfranchisement and
segregation, and the political system that emerged after the
decimation of the South's electorate. The result is an insightful
and persuasive interpretation of this highly significant, yet
generally misunderstood, episode in U.S. history.