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The Fourteenth Amendment : from political principle to judicial doctrine / William E. Nelson.

By: Nelson, William Edward, 1940-.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1988Description: ix, 253 p. ; 25 cm.ISBN: 0674316258 (alk. paper); 9780674316256 (alk. paper).Subject(s): United States. Constitution. 14th Amendment | Civil rights -- United States -- History | Equality before the law -- United States -- History | United States Civil rights Law: United States. Constitution 14th AmendmentAdditional physical formats: Online version:: Fourteenth Amendment.; Online version:: Fourteenth Amendment.DDC classification: 342.73/085 | 347.30285 Other classification: 86.52 | 86.45 | PN 732 Awards: American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Prize in American Law and Society, 1989.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
KF4757 .N45 1988 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001683614
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KF4757 .C48 2009 Changes in law and society during the Civil War and Reconstruction : KF4757 .F56 2010 Race and the Constitution : KF4757 .K58 2004 From Jim Crow to civil rights : KF4757 .N45 1988 The Fourteenth Amendment : KF4757 .W52 1987 Eyes on the prize : KF4758.A7 L56 1993 The law of sex discrimination / KF4758.A7 S4 Sex discrimination and the law :

Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-247) and index.

American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Prize in American Law and Society, 1989.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


In this stimulating, resourceful study of the 14th Amendment Nelson (New York University) displays that remarkably elusive quality, objectivity. In his view the essence of history is "the identification of continuities and discontinuities between past and present" and the history of the 14th Amendment reflects a discontinuity: the strikingly different constitutional worlds of the statesmen of "Reconstruction" and the judges of today. Nelson canvasses extant historical scholarship and analyzes the significance of the trilogy of liberty, equality, and federalism in the adoption of the 14th Amendment. He maintains that in its judicial construction the Supreme Court avoided divisive statements of principle by deciding cases on the basis of the equality concept, the vagueness and emptiness of which helped to keep it acceptable to diverse groups in pluralistic late 19th-century America. Later, when the justices disrupted the pattern and created inflexible constitutional rights in such cases as Lochner v. New York and Roe v. Wade, they precipitated a public outcry. The question of judicial reliance on "original intent" is inapposite because no clear intent was ever discernible from a reading of the debates surrounding the proposal and adoption of the 14th Amendment. Every sitting federal judge ought to read and ponder this book before placing his imprimatur on 14th Amendment laws, since it is the most creative and convincing treatment of the subject to date. Extensive documentation and adequate index. For upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. -R. J. Steamer, emeritus, University of Massachusetts at Boston

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