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Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, November 15, 2006
This review is from: Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America (Paperback)
This book tells the story of the constitutional transformation wrought by the Civil War, culminating in the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. The focus of the book is on the time after Lincoln's assasination until Congress' passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to be ratified by the States. Although this time period, and the story told in the book, has been the focus of many scholarly articles and books, this appears to be the first treatment of the topic for a popular audience.

Garrett Epps is a skilled writer and Democracy Reborn is very readable. He ably captures the excitement of the time. The book is also a fairly complete recounting of the roles of most of the major players in the drama. All in all it is a very enjoyable and educational.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 12, 2008 2:00:37 PM PDT
The slightest scrutiny reveals that the 14th amendment was never properly passed. It has allowed unscrupulous jurists to expand the power of Washington without limit; it will be the death of our republic in the long run.
Regarding the excerpt from the book that accompanies the book's listing in Amazon: Bedford Forrest didn't found the Klan.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2009 3:18:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 20, 2009 6:40:09 AM PST
Mr. Shand,

"Slightest scrutiny", why does Justices Thomas and Scalia acknowledge and use the 14th in writing their opinions if your claim is true?

Also, the 14th has not "expanded the power of Washington without limit", that claim is mere hyperbole taken to infinity. The 14th has instead effectively denied states the power to deny individuals of their rights where government was never formally delegated powers to prohibit the exercise of those rights or suppress those rights unequally amongst our people.

A primary purpose of government in a society who proposes its citizens are free is delegated powers to said government obligating them to defend the superior individual rights against tyrannical majorities, even against what our framers repeatedly claimed were the temporal tyrannical passions of the majority. The framers saw simple democracy as equally dangerous as a monarchy given their proneness to deny minorities equal rights. This concept was a primary factor for our framers structuring and ratifying a constitutional republic acting as a liberal democracy rather than forming a pure democracy where simple majorities ruled, though one with some "outs" to accommodate the fact they needed the slave states to participate in its ratification where those slave states wanted to continue to enslave some of its people post-ratification.

An excellent example of the 14th at work in defense of people's liberty is a case that reached the Supreme Court, Loving v. Virginia. Miscegenation laws existed late into the 20th century in Virginia and other states, laws which allowed had Virginia imprisoning a husband and his wife (the Lovings, hence the name of the case), for marrying given that the state prohibited such because they were of different races. The Supreme Court overturned Virginia's and other state's laws in 1967 in Loving given that the Constitution of the U.S. did not delegate powers to the federal government nor the states to deny our right to marry whom we want. This ruling shows how it limited government power truly is under the Constitution, and how broad our liberties truly are, given that so much racism existed at that time that when the ruling occurred, 73% of our citizens believed such prohibitions were justified. In this case, it wasn't government power that was extended as it was our rights that were defended by an encroachment of government power.

I suspect your issue with the 14th amendment is that the states have lost their ability to enforce its citizens' prejudices through its laws, laws which institutionalized and continued to perpetuate hatred and bigotry against individuals and minorities who demand the same equal protection under the law that the majority in those states enjoy.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2009 12:26:41 PM PDT
My analysis that the 14th will be the death of our system is coming true right this minute as BHO systematically dismantles the safeguards of our freedom. And he makes his disastrous moves in bunches. He is arranging for Iran to have time to perfect nuclear weapons, and first Israel and then the rest of the world will have to ignominiously give in.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2015 11:03:06 PM PST
How has Obama denied our rights any worse then any other president? Your post that I'm responding too was My of 2009 he hardly had time since he entered office in January of 2009....
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