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A Theory of Militant DemocracyThe Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism$
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Alexander S. Kirshner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300188240

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300188240.001.0001

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Political Exclusion and the Limits of Militant Democracy

Political Exclusion and the Limits of Militant Democracy

(p.141) Six Political Exclusion and the Limits of Militant Democracy
A Theory of Militant Democracy

Alexander S. Kirshner

Yale University Press

This chapter addresses the question of whether there is a recognizably democratic course of action when only a policy of extended political exclusion might keep antidemocrats from sabotaging others' rights and crippling representative institutions. It explores the example of America's Reconstruction. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the members of the Reconstruction Congress feared that if Southerners were allowed to participate fully, they would undermine the foundations of legitimate government in the United States. Accordingly, the Congress established military governments throughout the South and excluded Southern representatives from the legislature. Applying the self-limiting model, the chapter illustrates why Congress' policy of conditioning restrictive measures on Southerners' acceptance of the rules of the democratic game successfully alleviated some, though not all, of the normative challenges posed by Southern antidemocrats. It also argues that a more extreme response to Southern intransigence would have been self-defeating.

Keywords:   antidemocrats, Civil War, Southern states, Congress, Reconstruction

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