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Publisher Description

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.

GENRE
History
NARRATOR
DC
Donald Corren
LENGTH
07:30
hr min
RELEASED
2019
September 17
PUBLISHER
Recorded Books
LANGUAGE
EN
English
SIZE
351.5
MB

Customer Reviews

carnivaleyes ,

Recommend for everybody

Great read, enjoyable as an audiobook. This gives so much insight to the legal system and Constitutional laws that have shaped America. I recommend to any person looking to gain more knowledge on the founding of American society.

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