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Chapter I: The Supremacy of Equal Rights

Kousser, J. Morgan (1987) Chapter I: The Supremacy of Equal Rights. Social Science Working Paper, 620. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The black and white abolitionist agitation of the school integration issue in Massachusetts from 1840 to 1855 gave us the first school integration case filed in America, the first state Supreme Court decision reported on the issue, and the first state-wide law banning racial discrimination in admission to educational institutions. Who favored and who opposed school integration, and what arguments did each side make? Were the types of arguments that they offered different in different forums? Were they different from 20th century arguments? Why did the movement triumph, and why did it take so long to do so? What light does the struggle throw on views on race relations held by members of the antebellum black and white communities, on the character of the abolitionist movement, and on the development of legal doctrines about racial equality? Perhaps more generally, how should historians go about assessing the weight of different reasons that policymakers adduced for their actions, and how flawed is a legal history that confines itself to strictly legal materials? How can social scientific theory and statistical techniques be profitably applied to politico-legal history? Part of a larger project on the history of court cases and state and local provisions on racial discrimination in schools, this paper introduces many of the main themes, issues, and methods to be employed in the rest of the book.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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Alternate Title:The Supremacy of Equal Rights: The Struggle Against Racial Discrimination in Antebellum Massachusetts and the Foundations of the Fourteenth Amendment
Additional Information:Published as Kousser, J. Morgan. "Supremacy of Equal Rights: The Struggle against Racial Discrimination in Antebellum Massachusetts and the Foundations of the Fourteenth Amendment." Nw. UL Rev. 82 (1987): 941.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:620
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170912-140126509
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81371
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:15 Sep 2017 21:02
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:42

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