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The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1990) The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine [Book Review]. Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies, 11 (3). pp. 414-416. ISSN 1743-9523. doi:10.1080/01440399008575018.

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Historians have largely left controversies over the intent of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment to lawyers and legal historians. Was the Amendment an attempt to enunciate a broad guarantee of natural rights, or of the first eight Amendments, or merely to insure that whatever rights or benefits states decided to grant had to be shared equally by every person or citizen? Was it, yet .more narrowly, a restriction on only the grossest inequalites or even a constricted, rather trivial effort merely to constitutionalize the 1866 Civil Rights Bill? How much did the framers mean to expand national power at the expense of the states, and how much did they intend for judges, rather than members of Congress, to become the principal guardians of whatever rights the Fourteenth Amendment protected? Were its origins deep within the antebellum antislavery movement, or superficial, in the experiences of the immediate post-Civil War South and the political exigencies of the Republican Party? Indeed, did the Fourteenth Amendment have any determinable meaning at all, and how, if the evidence on any or all of these points conflicts, can we resolve the contradictions?

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Additional Information:© 1990 Taylor & Francis. Book review of: The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine. By William E. Nelson. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988. ix, 200pp. ISBN: 9780674316256
Issue or Number:3
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ID Code:41788
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Deposited On:21 Oct 2013 21:06
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 04:34

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