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Grant number: FEL-258057-18

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Kate Masur
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL 60208-0001)

Race, Liberty, and Policing before the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

A book-length study of the pre-Civil War origins of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This book examines the struggle over race, liberty, and policing in the United States from the 1820s through the Civil War, focusing on the crucial principle of personal liberty. Personal liberty, widely understood as the right to move freely from one place to another within the nation, has long been central to American visions of freedom. Yet from the beginning, the commitment to personal liberty was counterbalanced by commonplace understandings of government's obligation to secure order – that is, to police its population. From the colonial period through the Civil War, the tension between personal liberty and state police powers was most acute in debates about the rights of free people of African descent. Elucidating debates over race and personal liberty, *The Law of the Land* offers a new account of the origins of the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections of citizenship, equal rights, and due process, and helps us understand why those protections have been so very tenuous.

Project fields:
U.S. History


Research Programs

Total amounts:
$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 6/30/2019