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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Contrary to a view that sees racism as an aberration within American liberalism or largely outside the broader dynamics of American politics, historical institutional scholars often emphasize the central place of racial conflict in American politics and especially in the development of the American state. Although racial conflict has been an obstacle to state-building, struggles over race also enhanced state authority in ways that defy conceptions of a weak American state. Approaching American politics through an historical institutional lens helps underscore the way efforts to confront long standing racial divisions and conflict helped to institutionalize key political and social rights.

Keywords: United States, racial politics, state-building, inequality

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