Minority rights

moral minoritiesIn his new book Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2014), historian and Boston College alumnus Kyle G. Volk focuses on grassroot moral reforms in the early nineteenth century to show how immigrants, black northerners, abolitionists, liquor dealers, Catholics, Jews and Seventh-day Baptists –moral minorities–articulated a different vision of democracy requiring the protection of minority rights. According to Volk, the moral minorities of the mid-nineteenth century pioneered fundamental methods of political participation and legal advocacy that subsequent generations of civil-rights and civil-liberties activists would adopt and that are widely used today. Volk is an associate professor of history at the University of Montana. Read an excerpt.

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