Thirteenth Amendment and Freedom: Civil War Context and Contemporary Legal Theory
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT AND AMERICAN FREEDOM: A LEGAL HISTORY, NYU Press, 2004
This is the preface of a narrative history and contextual analysis of the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery and freedom take center stage. Alexander Tsesis demonstrates how entrenched slavery was in pre-Civil War America, how central it was to the political events that resulted in the Civil War, and how it was the driving force that led to the adoption of an amendment that ultimately provided a substantive assurance of freedom for all American citizens.
The story of how Supreme Court justices have interpreted the Thirteenth Amendment, first through racist lenses after Reconstruction and later influenced by the modern civil rights movement, provides insight into the tremendous impact the Thirteenth Amendment has had on the Constitution and American culture. Importantly, Tsesis also explains why the Thirteenth Amendment is essential to contemporary America, offering fresh analysis on the role the Amendment has played regarding civil rights legislation and personal liberty case decisions, and an original explanation of the substantive guarantees of freedom for today's society that the Reconstruction Congress envisioned over a century ago.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Thirteenth Amendment, Civil War, Constitutional Law, Reconstruction, Legal History, Civil Rights
JEL Classification: K1, K10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 16, 2011
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