From the Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar, a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation's foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time. The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal, but it took the Civil War and the subsequent adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as American law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed all persons due process and equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. They established the principle of birthright citizenship and guaranteed the privileges and immunities of all citizens. The federal government, not the states, was charged with enforcement, reversing the priority of the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, these revolutionary changes marked the second founding of the United States. Eric Foner's compact, insightful history traces the arc of these pivotal amendments from their dramatic origins in pre-Civil War mass meetings of African-American "colored citizens" and in Republican party politics to their virtual nullification in the late nineteenth century. A series of momentous decisions by the Supreme Court narrowed the rights guaranteed in the amendments, while the states actively undermined them. The Jim Crow system was the result. Again today there are serious political challenges to birthright citizenship, voting rights, due process, and equal protection of the law. Like all great works of history, this one informs our understanding of the present as well as the past: knowledge and vigilance are always necessary to secure our basic rights.
This title is part of (or scheduled to be part of) the following subscriptions:
You can find this title in the following lists:
Click the Download button to download a copy of the MARC file.
Enter your FTP details below to send the MARC export file via FTP.
by Steve Luxenberg
by Eric Foner
by David Fubini
by Olivier Sibony
by Charles Jackson
by Donald Hensrud
by Noam Chomsky
by William L. Barney
by Andrew Ervin
by James Kaplan
by Matthew O. Jackson
by Peter Schwartz
"Donald Corren's commanding narration is a perfect match for this important audiobook. The author, a Reconstruction expert, explains how major modifications to the Constitution in the late 1860s changed the course of American politics. The abolition of slavery, birthright citizenship, equal protection under the law, and universal suffrage (initially for men) came out of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Corren's urgent tone conveys the high stakes involved as the states and the federal government wrangled during the years following the Civil War. The outcome of these negotiations is considered by historians to be as significant as the founding itself, and Corren makes the listener care about each battle along the way. L.W.S. © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine"