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Inherently Unequal The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-01-31
  • Publisher: Walker Books
  • Purchase Benefits
List Price: $17.00


A potent and original examination of how the Supreme Court subverted justice and empowered the Jim Crow era. In the years following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th conferred citizenship and equal protection under the law to white and black; and the 15th gave black American males the right to vote. In 1875, the most comprehensive civil rights legislation in the nation's history granted all Americans "the full and equal enjoyment" of public accommodations. Just eight years later, the Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, overturned the Civil Rights Act as unconstitutional and, in the process, disemboweled the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment. Using court records and accounts of the period, Lawrence Goldstone chronicles how "by the dawn of the 20th century the U.S. had become the nation of Jim Crow laws, quasi-slavery, and precisely the same two-tiered system of justice that had existed in the slave era." The very human story of how and why this happened make Inherently Unequalas important as it is provocative. Examining both celebrated decisions like Plessy v. Ferguson and those often overlooked, Goldstone demonstrates how the Supreme Court turned a blind eye to the obvious reality of racism, defending instead the business establishment and status quo--thereby legalizing the brutal prejudice that came to define the Jim Crow era.

Author Biography

Lawrence Goldstone is the author of Dark Bargain: Slavery, Profits, and the Struggle for the Constitution and The Activist: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review. He lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Table of Contents

prologue: A Death in Georgiap. 1
Construction and Reconstruction: Two Great Experimentsp. 14
Beyond Party or Politics: The Capitalists Ascendp. 31
Another Reconstruction: The Lincoln Courtp. 39
Siege: Congress Counterattacksp. 51
Bad Science and Big Moneyp. 61
Corporate Presidency: Ulysses Grant and the Courtp. 73
Equality Frays: Cruikshank and Reesep. 88
1876: Justice Bradley Disposesp. 99
A Jury of One's Peers: Strauder and Rivesp. 111
Deconstruction: The Civil Rights Casesp. 118
Floodgates; The Rebirth of White Rulep. 130
Blurring the Boundaries: The Expansion of Due Processp. 137
Confluence: Plessy v. Fergusonp. 152
One Man, No Vote: Williams v. Mississippip. 171
Mr. Justice Holmes Concursp. 177
Movementp. 186
Epilogue A Charade of Justicep. 195
Notesp. 20I
Bibliographyp. 223
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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