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J. Morgan Kousser

Bio: J. Morgan Kousser is an academic researcher from California Institute of Technology. The author has contributed to research in topics: Politics & Voting. The author has an hindex of 20, co-authored 95 publications receiving 1939 citations.


Papers
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Book
01 Jun 1974
TL;DR: The origins of the political system Key described can be traced back to the movements for suffrage restriction in each of the eleven ex-Confederate states from 1880 to 1910 as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: This book is an attempt to explain the origins of the political system Key described. A complex topic with wide ramifications, it has received less attention than it deserves. As Sheldon Hackney remarked in a recent review article, "One of the unsolved, even unposed riddles of twentieth-century southern politics is why a two-party system did not develop after disfranchisement." The solution to this riddle, I suggest, lies not in the period after disfranchisement and the establishment of the direct, statewide white primary, but in a study of the movements which sought to bring about those electoral changes. If so, then questions about the genesis of the electoral changes are important to political scientists and historians investigating not only the nineteenth century but also the twentieth. I have attempted in this book to cover in detail the movements for suffrage restriction in each of the eleven ex-Confederate states. I have also treated intensively the changes in Northern opinion toward suffrage and the South, the identity and objectives of the restrictionists and their opponents, and the purposes and efficacy of the particular alterations in the political rules. My interpretation of the change from the post-Reconstruction Southern political system to the twentieth-century system rests on a thorough analysis of election statistics using a technique heretofore rarely used by historians—Leo Goodman's ecological regression method. By employing Goodman's method, I have been able to obtain estimates of the percentages of blacks and whites who voted for each candidate, as well as the proportion who did not vote, in every presidential and gubernatorial election and in many primaries and referenda in the South from 1880 to 1910. For most of these elections, these are the first estimates based on a relatively sophisticated statistical procedure that have ever been made. These statistics allow the most firmly based answers that we have so far to such questions as: to what extent did blacks and whites, respectively, favor the Populists? What percentage of voters from each party favored disfranchisement in the various referenda? To what extent did the massive declines in votes turnout represent only the disfranchisement of blacks? To what extent did whites also stop voting?

419 citations

01 Jan 1989
TL;DR: Anderson's new book, the best single volume on black education in the post-bellum south, commits the opposite error as mentioned in this paper, exaggerating the power and autonomy of southern ex-slaves during Reconstruction and of southern blacks in general during the Jim Crow era, and correspondingly underemphasizing the significance for their education of former free people of colour, northern blacks and whites and white southerners.
Abstract: Some previous histories of southern education, such as Charles W. Dabney's classic Universal Education in the South, slighted the role of American Americans in shaping their own education. James Anderson's new book, the best single volume on black education in the post-bellum south, commits the opposite error. Anderson exaggerates the power and autonomy of southern ex-slaves during Reconstruction and of southern blacks in general during the Jim Crow era, and correspondingly underemphasizes the significance for their education of the efforts of former free people of colour, northern blacks and whites and white southerners. While meriting praise for its uncovering of the role of ordinary people struggling to improve their educational lot, Anderson's revisionist book almost wholly excludes electoral, legislative and administrative politics. The exclusions and lopsided emphases make it nearly as one-sided and incomplete as the white-centred, bureaucrat-dominated history that it seeks to replace.

418 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a systematic analysis of election-related stories in contemporary newspapers allows a test of Converse's assertion that the introduction of the secret ballot decreased reported voter turnout by damping down what he alleges was widespread rural corruption.
Abstract: In 1974 Philip Converse and Jerrold Rusk offered an institutional, and Walter Dean Burnham, a behavioral explanation of the decline in voter turnout in the northern United States around the turn of the century. An examination of turnout figures for New York State from 1870 to 1916 demonstrates that election statistics lend some support to both explanations, and that the elections around 1890 provide the strongest evidence in favor of the Converse-Rusk hypothesis. A systematic analysis of election-related stories in contemporary newspapers allows a test of Converse's assertion that the introduction of the secret ballot decreased reported turnout by damping down what he alleges was widespread rural corruption. Concluding that neither previous theory stands up well when confronted with the detailed voting figures and newspaper evidence, we propose an alternative explanation which melds the institutional and behavioral hypotheses.

185 citations

Book
01 Jan 1999
TL;DR: Kousser as discussed by the authors argues that many of the judicial and Congressional steps between the act of 1965 and the so-called judicial gerrymanders that became controversial in the 1980s were necessary to overcome stubborn resistance to the clear intent of the act.
Abstract: Colorblind Injustice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction. By J. Morgan Kousser. (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, c. 1999. Pp. xii, 590. Paper $29.95, ISBN 0-8078-4738-0; cloth, $65.00, ISBN 0-8078-2431-2.) Civil rights activists had a rough time trying to translate the principles of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into actual practice. Southern politicians had a genius for diluting the black vote--by "countermobilizing" previously unregistered white voters, then by changing election rules (redrawing district boundaries, requiring run-offs, etc.). Of the two strategies, changing the rules was both more effective and more unambiguously unethical, and civil rights activists sought to make it illegal. They succeeded in pressuring the courts and Congress to ban some racist forms of vote dilution, but the bans proved hard to enforce. Racist aims were easy to hide and were typically mixed with varying degrees of legal aims--protection of incumbents during redistricting, for example. (However opportunistic, such protection is virtually inevitable and generally legal.) These and other complexities led civil rights lobbyists to push legislatures into drawing new election districts with safe black majorities. The new districts looked very odd to casual observers, but the history behind them makes them look less odd. Years of ingenious resistance to black power make many of the oddities appear justified. J. Morgan Kousser, the most influential historian of Fifteenth Amendment rights, makes these points in his new book. His principle antagonist, Abigail M. Thernstrom, had already made most of them in her influential Whose Votes Count? (Cambridge, Mass., 1987). Given their bitter disagreement, how much the two have in common is striking. Like Kousser, Thernstrom argues that many of the judicial and Congressional steps between the act of 1965 and the so-called judicial gerrymanders that became controversial in the 1980s were necessary to overcome stubborn resistance to the clear intent of the act. Kousser thinks the story should end there. Thernstrom, however, wants readers to see a larger irony. However justifiable any step along the way may have been, she concludes that a general pattern emerged: "proportional representation," which was undemocratic, indeed deeply racist. To avoid prosecution, legislatures were herding black voters into districts on the assumption that those voters could get legitimate representation only where they outnumbered white voters. The perversity of this became clearest when right-wing Republicans used the civil rights lobby's rhetoric to justify draining black voters (overwhelmingly Democratic) out of competitive districts and packing them into a small number of districts that they conceded to the Democrats. The Republicans' idea was to reduce the number of Democratic representatives yet claim moral high ground by increasing the number of black representatives. Civil rights groups had little defense against this tactical twist, and the increasingly Republican judiciary predictably took full advantage. Thernstrom thinks such overall consequences are now the most interesting parts of the story. Kousser thinks they are a distraction. To him, the god of racial justice is in the details. Kousser's book--every bit as polemical and tendentious as Thernstrom's--insists on the necessity of racial gerrymandering. History, he says, shows that general principles of fairness can conceal devious acts. …

104 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The problem that the South now presents, assertedWalter Hines Page in an Atlantic Monthly article in 1902, "has at last become so plain that thoughtful men no longer differ about it" and "It is no longer obscured by race differences nor by political differences".
Abstract: "The problem that the South now presents," asserted Walter Hines Page in an Atlantic Monthly article in 1902, "has at last become so plain that thoughtful men no longer differ about it. It is no longer obscured by race differences nor by political differences. It is simply the training of the untrained masses." Education, Page was sure, would build a new "democratic order of society" in the South, would, as he had asserted in a famous 1897 speech, "develop the forgotten man .... The neglected people will rise," he went on, "and with them will rise all the people."

51 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The concept of school engagement has attracted increasing attention as representing a possible antidote to declining academic motivation and achievement as mentioned in this paper, and it is presumed to be malleable, responsive to contextual features, and amenable to environmental change.
Abstract: The concept of school engagement has attracted increasing attention as representing a possible antidote to declining academic motivation and achievement. Engagement is presumed to be malleable, responsive to contextual features, and amenable to environmental change. Researchers describe behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement and recommend studying engagement as a multifaceted construct. This article reviews definitions, measures, precursors, and outcomes of engagement; discusses limitations in the existing research; and suggests improvements. The authors conclude that, although much has been learned, the potential contribution of the concept of school engagement to research on student experience has yet to be realized. They call for richer characterizations of how students behave, feel, and think—research that could aid in the development of finely tuned interventions

7,641 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors propose a culturally relevant theory of education for African-American students in the context of collaborative and reflexive pedagogical research, and explore the intersection of culture and teaching that relies solely on microanalytic or macro-analytic perspectives.
Abstract: In the midst of discussions about improving education, teacher education, equity, and diversity, little has been done to make pedagogy a central area of investigation. This article attempts to challenge notions about the intersection of culture and teaching that rely solely on microanalytic or macroanalytic perspectives. Rather, the article attempts to build on the work done in both of these areas and proposes a culturally relevant theory of education. By raising questions about the location of the researcher in pedagogical research, the article attempts to explicate the theoretical framework of the author in the nexus of collaborative and reflexive research. The pedagogical practices of eight exemplary teachers of African-American students serve as the investigative “site.” Their practices and reflections on those practices provide a way to define and recognize culturally relevant pedagogy.

5,427 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that a focus on the achievement gap is misplaced and instead, we need to look at the education debt that has accumulated over time, which comprises historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral components.
Abstract: The achievement gap is one of the most talked-about issues in U.S. education. The term refers to the disparities in standardized test scores between Black and White, Latina/o and White, and recent immigrant and White students. This article argues that a focus on the gap is misplaced. Instead, we need to look at the “education debt” that has accumulated over time. This debt comprises historical, economic, sociopolitical, and moral components. The author draws an analogy with the concept of national debt—which she contrasts with that of a national budget deficit—to argue the significance of the education debt.

2,366 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that a hemispheric perspective across a wide range of colonies established in the New World by the Europeans suggests that although there were many influences, factor endowments or initial conditions had profound and enduring effects on the long-run paths of institutional and economic development followed by the respective economies.
Abstract: The explanations offered for the contrasting records of long-run growth and development among the societies of North and South America most often focus on institutions. The traditional explanations for the sources of these differences in institutions, typically highlight the significance of national heritage or religion. We, in contrast, argue that a hemispheric perspective across the wide range of colonies established in the New World by the Europeans suggests that although there were many influences, factor endowments or initial conditions had profound and enduring effects on the long-run paths of institutional and economic development followed by the respective economies.

1,542 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors construct a model of simultaneous change and persistence in institutions, where the main idea is that equilibrium economic institutions are a result of the exercise of de jure and de facto political power.
Abstract: We construct a model of simultaneous change and persistence in institutions. The model consists of landowning elites and workers, and the key economic decision concerns the form of economic institutions regulating the transaction of labor (e.g., competitive markets versus labor repression). The main idea is that equilibrium economic institutions are a result of the exercise of de jure and de facto political power. A change in political institutions, for example a move from nondemocracy to democracy, alters the distribution of de jure political power, but the elite can intensify their investments in de facto political power, such as lobbying or the use of paramilitary forces, to partially or fully offset their loss of de jure power. In the baseline model, equilibrium changes in political institutions have no effect on the (stochastic) equilibrium distribution of economic institutions, leading to a particular form of persistence in equilibrium institutions, which we refer to as invariance. When the model is enriched to allow for limits on the exercise of de facto power by the elite in democracy or for costs of changing economic institutions, the equilibrium takes the form of a Markov regime-switching process with state dependence. Finally, when we allow for the possibility that changing political institutions is more difficult than altering economic institutions, the model leads to a pattern of captured democracy, whereby a democratic regime may survive, but choose economic institutions favoring the elite. The main ideas featuring in the model are illustrated using historical examples from the U.S. South, Latin America and Liberia.

993 citations