"Effusions of Folly and Fanaticism" : Race, Gender, and Constitution-Making in Ohio, 1802-1923Author InfoSocial Media
1999, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, History.
This dissertation argues that Ohioans used their constitutional conventions as arenas in which to contest competing visions of their community, particularly racial and gendered constructions of that community. On the simplest level, the dissertation is the story of how the words "white male" came into Ohio's first constitution in 1802 and how, eventually, they came out. On another level, it describes what Eric Foner calls "the battles at the boundaries:" the struggle of Ohio's African-Americans and women to break down the boundaries that excluded them from full participation in the political and civic
The dissertation also analyzes the role of the Ohio Supreme Court in judicially defining the boundaries of the political and civic community. By construing the word "white" to mean any person with more than one-half white blood, the Court included people of color in the political community by deciding who could vote, and, in the civic community, by deciding who could attend public schools. The Court's opinions themselves and the repeated challenges to the Court's decisions reflected that the Court
did so against the wishes of many white Ohioans.
For Ohio's African-American men, suffrage came with ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. But white opposition remained long after the Fifteenth amendment and the legislature's decision to eliminate separate schools. The refusal to remove the word "white" from the Ohio constitution in 1912 illustrates the persistence of a white-only vision of the community by a large segment of Ohio's white men.
Ohio suffragists, although primarily white and middle-class, continued to link their own status as disfranchised citizens and the rights of African-Americans well past ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. They sought to remove not only the word "male" but also the word "white" from Ohio's definition of voting qualifications. Only once Ohio women could vote, as a result of the nineteenth amendment, did Ohioans change their Constitution, a symbol of the community, to reflect a community of black and white, male and female on equal terms, by removing the words "white" and "male."
M. Les Benedict (Advisor)
Terzian, B. (1999). "Effusions of Folly and Fanaticism" : Race, Gender, and Constitution-Making in Ohio, 1802-1923. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/
Terzian, Barbara. ""Effusions of Folly and Fanaticism" : Race, Gender, and Constitution-Making in Ohio, 1802-1923." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 1999. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 27 Feb 2015.
Terzian, Barbara A. ""Effusions of Folly and Fanaticism" : Race, Gender, and Constitution-Making in Ohio, 1802-1923." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 1999. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/