Manning Marable

The four legged stool that won the US presidential election

Issue section: 

What are Barack Obama's political roots? Manning Marable considers his historic election and argues that he is part of a new generation of post-racial black politicians.

My initial reaction to Barack Obama's victory is that of a historian - race has been the fundamental chasm in US democracy for 400 years. Blacks arrived here as slaves in 1619, about 150 years before the American Revolution and 170 years before the US constitution was ratified founding the nation state. All of that rested on slavery and the exploitation of black labour. So in 1790, in the very first law passed by the incoming administration of George Washington, the definition of a US citizen was a free white person, preferably with property.

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