Put simply, the long afterlives of slavery and imperialism are as important to understanding US history as are more familiar, ameliorative tales about the abolition of slavery and the expansion of democracy and citizenship rights during Reconstruction. The story of the contest between the two is designed to capture an essential and ongoing theme in the United States, which was never all one or the other.
This talk explores the long unwinding of Reconstruction in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the rise of an overseas American empire. It shows that the fall of Reconstruction in the south was connected to the conquest of the west and the emergence of American imperialism on a global scale. “Jim Crow imperialism” illustrates the long after lives of the overthrow of Reconstruction, when the United States established racial apartheid at home and sought to govern non-white peoples abroad, specifically excluded from the citizenship rights of the Reconstruction amendments and the protections of the United States Constitution.