The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Illustrated edition (September 17, 2019)
The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution is exactly what’s needed to inspire a new appreciation of the period during which the United States was reconstructed, since Foner wrote it with a mass audience in mind. In his book, Finer discusses the arguments behind and significance of the passage of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Reconstruction Amendments. As a result of these amendments, slavery was abolished, birthright citizenship was ensured, due process was guaranteed, and racial discrimination was prohibited.
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The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution – A Review of Eric Foner’s “Reconstruction Never Ended”
These efforts were not driven by the altruistic spirit of the victorious Union, a fact that might surprise readers unfamiliar with the Reconstruction Era. Foner shows that all three of these titanic, if flawed, achievements were the result of political calculations inherent in all legislative processes. As a consequence, the book does not lionize the legislators of the late 1860s or erect a pantheon of “Founding Fathers” to be venerated. Some members of Congress who voted for the passage of these amendments were not doing so in the belief that all people should be treated equally. In the context of these three amendments, Foner analyzes how Congress drafted them in order to grant rights to enslaved black men in former Confederate states while at the same time preventing free blacks in the North from acquiring too many rights. It was striking to see how lawmakers drafted them to prevent the rights of those being extended to them