JMC postdoctoral fellow Joshua Lynn discusses his forthcoming book, Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism (University of Virginia Press), on Yale’s “MacMillan Report.”
Josh is a postdoctoral fellow at Yale’s Center for the Study of Representative Institutions, one of the Jack Miller Center’s partner programs, and was a participant in JMC’s 2017 summer institute. He studies nineteenth-century politics, culture, and political thought in the United States. His research focuses on the intersection of political culture with constructions of race, gender, and sexuality. Josh is also an historian of American conservatism. He previously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his Ph.D. in History.
In his first book, Preserving the White Man’s Republic, Josh argues that late antebellum Democrats redefined American conservatism by placing it on a basis of liberal individualism and majoritarian democracy, as they looked to local majorities of white men to uphold racial and gender exclusion on the eve of the Civil War. The injection of grassroots democracy into conservative thought is a legacy that continues to animate American conservatism down to the modern New Right.
Josh is currently working on his second book, “The Black Douglass and the White Douglas: Embodying Race, Manhood, and Democracy in Civil War America.” It examines the long-running feud between Frederick Douglass and Stephen A. Douglas. Each man embodied competing conceptions of race, gender, and democracy. Putting them in dialogue allows for a unique exploration of the gender and racial basis of democratic citizenship in Civil War America.
The Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions (YCRI) is an interdisciplinary pilot program, established for the purpose of developing the study of the theory and practice of representative government in the Anglo-American tradition. YCRI is supported by the Thomas W. Smith fund and the Jack Miller Center’s Commercial Republic Initiative, which is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. It is hosted by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.