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No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights Paperback – Abridged, January 31, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0822310358 ISBN-10: 082231035X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (January 31, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082231035X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822310358
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The book is carefully organized and well written, and it deals with a question that is still of great importance—what is the relationship of the Bill of Rights to the states.” - Journal of American History


“Curtis effectively settles a serious legal debate: whether the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to incorporate the Bill of Rights guarantees and thereby inhibit state action. Taking on a formidable array of constitutional scholars, . . . he rebuts their argument with vigor and effectiveness, conclusively demonstrating the legitimacy of the incorporation thesis. . . . A bold, forcefully argued, important study.” - Library Journal


“Curtis effectively settles a serious legal debate: whether the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to incorporate the Bill of Rights guarantees and thereby inhibit state action. Taking on a formidable array of constitutional scholars, . . . he rebuts their argument with vigor and effectiveness, conclusively demonstrating the legitimacy of the incorporation thesis. . . . A bold, forcefully argued, important study.”
(Library Journal)

“The book is carefully organized and well written, and it deals with a question that is still of great importance—what is the relationship of the Bill of Rights to the states.”
(Journal of American History)

About the Author

Michael Kent Curtis is Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By JMB1014 on January 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Did you know the Bill of Rights did not protect you from oppressive state laws until after the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted following the Civil War? Were you aware a state could simply strip away your rights to freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, ignore your privilege against self-incrimination or unreasonable searches and seizures, hold you without bail, beat a confession out of you, and try you without a lawyer or witnesses on your behalf? States could and did do these things. Slavery was just the most extreme deprivation of liberty that the original Constitution allowed.

Many Americans who are not trained in the law or who have not made a study of American history never learned this. As late as 1833, in a case called Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court, per Chief Justice John Marshall, no less, held that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government - not to the states. That had been and continued to be the law until after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Professor Curtis' book is one of the great contributions to one of the least understood (and most distorted) subjects in American history. Few lay people understand the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment and the changes it wrought after the Union victory in the Civil War. Curtis' painstaking research, informed by objectivity and fairness, refutes longstanding misconceptions about the Fourteenth Amendment which derived from the southern preoccupation with trying to rehabilitate the southern image after its defeat. The conclusions of Professors Raoul Berger and Charles Fairman are specifically called into question as it appears they may have been less thorough in their canvass of relevant historical sources.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Having just read many neo-originalist works on the 14th Amendment, I really can't praise this book highly enough. Curtis is thorough, fair, tolerant of ambiguity, and remarkably free of "presentist" blinders. He carefully traces the ideological context of the 14th amendment, the sources its framers drew on in crafting its language, and the beliefs of the legislators who debated it. In the process, he reveals the unfortunate misuses to which history has been put in interpreting the amendment over the years. Curtis's lucid and straightforward style and skill at making sense of complex events are a refreshing contrast to many of the commentators and historians who have drawn upon his work.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Having just read many neo-originalist works on the 14th Amendment, I really can't praise this book highly enough. Curtis is thorough, fair, tolerant of ambiguity, and remarkably free of "presentist" blinders. He carefully traces the ideological context of the 14th amendment, the sources its framers drew on in crafting its language, and the beliefs of the legislators who debated it. In the process, he reveals the unfortunate misuses to which history has been put in interpreting the amendment over the years. Curtis's lucid and straightforward style and skill at making sense of complex events are a refreshing contrast to many of the commentators and historians who have drawn upon his work.
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