Strange bedfellows: War and minority rights

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Robert P. Saldin discusses how minority groups that have contributed to the US war efforts have been rewarded with expanded rights. The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) played a key and highly visible organizing role in the push for full rights. On an individual level, women heeded a massive propaganda campaign urging them to join the depleted American workforce. A similar process occurred on the Korean peninsula. Because of the persistence of assumptions about African Americans' lack of combat worthiness, they were kept away from the front lines in segregated units. Two factors explain the surprisingly frequent expansions of democratic rights associated with wars. First, wars place a tremendous strain on the government. They are expensive and require widespread sacrifice. A second factor at work is the national unity and cohesion that foreign wars frequently engender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalWorld Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


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