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Keywords

Ex-convicts — Suffrage; History; Minorities — Suffrage; Mormons — Persecutions; Southern states; Suffrage; West (U.S.)

Abstract

Pomeroy’s understanding of the nature of the franchise may seem foreign to many present-day Americans, but this vision is the one to which most nineteenth-century jurists, scholars, and politicians subscribed. It is worth noting that Pomeroy wrote these words in the aftermath of the post-Civil War rights revolution and half a century after the expansion of the franchise under the auspices of Jacksonian democracy. This attitude toward voting rights was not abandoned following the passage of the reconstruction amendments. Instead, the idea of a limited franchise was affirmed time and again in the post-bellum era. Pomeroy’s franchise (one in which “the voter possesses a mere privilege,” and the states control the exercise of that privilege) remains an important component of the American electoral system.


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