From Publishers Weekly
After coauthoring the recent Legal Lynching with his father (Forecasts, Aug. 13), Congressman Jackson takes the lead in this book written with his press secretary, laying out his moral and political vision. The first, autobiographical section serves as an introduction to his historical review of how race and states' rights have been intertwined both in theory and practice. Jackson sees "race as the lens through which to see all of American history," but economics and sectional politics are the substance. From colonial times to the present, Jackson stresses both the contradictions within Southern conservative ideology (such as Southern states-righters' insistence on federal fugitive slave laws) and its consistencies across time (small local government, low taxes, economic underdevelopment and opposition to providing broad economic opportunities for all), which have opposed progress toward a more perfect union, hitting blacks the hardest, but hitting an even larger number of poor, working-class and even middle-class whites. The contrasting struggle for broadly shared economic development, political power and personal freedom can best be advanced, Jackson argues, by adopting eight new, benchmark-setting constitutional amendments, guaranteeing rights primarily grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the U.S. has ratified. Each is treated in a separate chapter: the rights to quality health care, housing, education, a clean environment, fair taxes, full employment, equality for women and the right to vote. Though occasionally rough and repetitious, the book's breadth, boldness and candor stirringly challenge conventional political timidity.
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