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Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power
September 14 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
The SMU Center for Presidential History welcomes Jefferson Cowie (Vanderbilt University) as he speaks on his new book, Freedom’s Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power.
A prize-winning historian chronicles a sinister idea of freedom: white Americans’ freedom to oppress others and their fight against the government that got in their way.
American freedom is typically associated with the fight of the oppressed for a better world. But for centuries, whenever the federal government intervened on behalf of nonwhite people, many white Americans fought back in the name of freedom—their freedom to dominate others.
In Freedom’s Dominion, historian Jefferson Cowie traces this complex saga by focusing on a quintessentially American place: Barbour County, Alabama, the ancestral home of political firebrand George Wallace. In a land shaped by settler colonialism and chattel slavery, white people weaponized freedom to seize Native lands, champion secession, overthrow Reconstruction, question the New Deal, and fight against the civil rights movement.
A riveting history of the long-running clash between white people and federal authority, this book radically shifts our understanding of what freedom means in America.
Jefferson Cowie is a social and political historian whose research and teaching focus on how class, race, inequality, and work shape American capitalism, politics, and culture.
This event is co-sponsored by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s Scott Hawkins Lecture Fund.