About the Book

The Right to Vote

The Right to Vote

The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
June 2009
Trade Paperback · 494 Pages
$24.00 U.S. · $28.00 CAN · £15.99 U.K. · €16.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780465005024
Basic Books

 

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Description

The right to vote is a critical ingredient of American democracy, yet today it is easy for many of us to take that right for granted and to forget the struggles for enfranchisement that have shaped our politics and our government. The first comprehensive history of suffrage from the American Revolution to the present, Alexander Keyssar’s The Right to Vote was originally published in 2000 and has since been acclaimed as a magisterial account of a key dimension of our history.
In this revised and updated edition of The Right to Vote, Keyssar brings the story up to date and addresses recent developments, from the disputed presidential contest of 2000 through the 2008 campaign and the election of Barack Obama. During those eight years, Americans witnessed not only the battle over Florida’s electoral votes, but the passage of the Help America Vote Act, the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, debates about voting technology, and ongoing skirmishing over exercise of the right to vote. The new edition offers a comprehensive chronicle of those events while locating them against the backdrop of two centuries of history. The result is a powerful narrative as well as a thought-provoking meditation on the meaning of democracy in contemporary American life.
Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

About the Author

Alexander Keyssar is the Matthew W. Stirling, Jr., Professor of History and Social Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His 1986 book, Out of Work, was awarded three scholarly prizes, and his book, The Right to Vote, was named the best book in U.S. history by both the American Historical Association and the Historical Society; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.