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Scholarly Roundtable on the 150th Anniversary of the 14th Amendment

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by Pat Young, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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  3. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    From the Introduction by Martha Jones: This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[1] On July 9, 1868, one of the Reconstruction Era’s boldest innovations became law. Birthright citizenship, equal protection of the laws, and voting rights entered the constitutional pantheon, pointing the way forward for a nation that had been deeply scarred by slavery, racism, and a war that wrought nothing less than a revolution. An unparalleled experiment in interracial democracy was underway.
     
  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    From Bonner's essay:

    The Fourteenth Amendment was in some ways the culmination of decades of black activism. As early as the 1820s, African Americans publicly challenged exclusionary laws in northern states. They called themselves citizens as they worked toward specific legal changes including protections from kidnappers, free movement throughout the country, equal employment opportunities, and the right to vote.[1] That work was potent because white lawmakers did not agree on the significance or content of citizenship; many felt the status simply identified a person’s connection to a place.[2] In 1838, the black Philadelphian Robert Purvis lamented that when an African American was accused of being a fugitive slave, “a free-born citizen of Pennsylvania [could] be arrested, tried without counsel, jury or power to call witnesses . . . and carried across Mason and Dixon’s line within the compass of a single day.”[3] Statements like Purvis’s made specific arguments about who could be a citizen and about the legal protections that status should provide. Black activists thus constructed citizenship as a legal status in their political statements.
     
  6. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    While Bonner discusses the positive aspects of the 14th Amendment, he writes:

    But the story of the Fourteenth Amendment is also one about black Americans identifying and challenging its limits. In October 1868, a group of activists issued a public call for a national convention. They were concerned with a section of the amendment that outlined penalties to be imposed on states that denied black men the vote. Many people saw this gesture at protection as a tacit endorsement of black disfranchisement. Those who called for a convention worried that the new law allowed for “the partial or total exclusion of colored citizens from the exercise of the elective franchise and other citizen rights.” “Surely,” they said, “citizenship, as declared by that amendment, carries with it the rights of citizens.”
     
  7. alan polk

    alan polk Sergeant Major

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    Thanks. Looks like it will be interesting. I know the race aspect is very important, but I’m hoping they will discuss the other aspects too. The issues raised by New Orleans butchers in the “Slaughter House” cases, for example, is an example of how ideas about the 14th Amendment were moving beyond race and ex slaves. Hopefully they will touch on that.
     
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  8. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    You're welcome. I am not sure how in-depth this will be.
     
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  9. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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  10. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    From the article:

    The struggle of African Americans to establish their claims on the United States stretched back to the very origins of the nation itself. It unfolded side-by-side with the struggle against slavery, in every public forum that African Americans could turn to the purpose, but one particularly important arena in the early nineteenth century for the African American struggle to make black citizenship imaginable was the Colored Convention Movement. In the decades before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, hese national conventions (along with a host of similar state conventions) served as a forum in which black leaders, often driven from public spaces and legally denied most of the rights and privileges they considered rightly theirs, enacted black citizenship and helped to forge a national black community. These black leaders elected officers, established rules to govern their organization, provided for state and local auxiliaries, and generally addressed the issues facing African Americans across the nation. The minutes of these conventions, published and then reprinted in abolitionist newspapers, served to demonstrate and publicize this public service, providing witness to this long struggle for citizenship.
     
  11. Rebforever

    Rebforever Major

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    Any footnotes that you can supply?
     
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  12. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    If you follow the links, the articles themselves have the footnotes.
     
  13. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Some background on the authors:

    Professor Martha S. Jones joined the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Department of History on June 1, 2017 as the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History. She came from the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts the University of Michigan where she was a Presidential Bicentennial Professor, Professor of history and Afroamerican and African Studies. She was a founding director of the Michigan Law School Program in Race, Law & History and a senior fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows.

    Professor Jones is a legal and cultural historian whose interests include the study of race, law, citizenship, slavery, and the rights of women. She holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty, she was a public interest litigator in New York City and a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York at Columbia University.

    Professor Jones is the author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2018) and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), together with many important articles and essays. Her work includes the curatorship of museum exhibitions, including “Reframing the Color Line” and “Proclaiming Emancipation” in conjunction with the William L. Clements Library. Professor Jones’s essays and commentary have appeared in the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN, and the Detroit Free Press, among other news outlets.

    Her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the National Constitution Center, and the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. Today, Professor Jones serves as Co-President of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and was recently elected to the Organization of American Historians Executive Board. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland and Paris, France with her husband, historian Jean Hébrard.
     
  14. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Christopher Bonner
    Assistant Professor University of Maryland
    Christopher Bonner specializes in African American history, particularly black protest in the early United States. He is at work on a manuscript titled "The Price of Citizenship," which examines black activists' efforts to construct American citizenship before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment. In their public protest statements, black people from across the antebellum free states worked to create a specific, inclusive citizen status, a central project in the long processes of creating American law and society. He is more broadly interested in the roots and results of radical politics, the nature and meanings of historical violence, and the creation of black freedom in a slaveholding republic. His teaching interests include African American politics and culture, slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world, and race and ethnicity in early America. Originally from Chesapeake, VA, he earned his B.A. from Howard University and Ph.D. from Yale University.
     
  15. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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  16. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Good thread. I just wonder if any of the commentators will address the fact it was immigrants who took the greatest advantage of the 14th Amendment. European immigrants, not burdened by a racial category, but only distinct in terms of language and religion, were in the best position to blend in and become citizens.
    Bingham and Trumbull may have been involved in drafting the amendment, but just behind them was William H. Seward and the New York position that immigration was a positive good. I wonder if any of these writers will explore that problem.
     
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  17. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    From the article:

    The ratification process also functioned as a cautionary tale about how the struggle for an inclusive democratic society remains constant. As David Blight reminded us in a 2015 essay in The Atlantic, Frederick Douglass cautioned against being lulled into complacency after the constitutional victory embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification.[7] The freedom struggle was not over. It merely changed. Delivered after the ratification, Douglass reminded his audience: “Had [slavery’s] death come of moral conviction instead of political and military necessity; had it come in obedience to the enlightenment of the American people; had it come at the call of the humanity … of the slaveholder, as well as the rest of our fellow citizens, slavery might be looked upon as honestly dead.”[8] The noted African American leader and former slave understood the necessity of continued vigilance against those whom might accept slavery’s demise and then fail to eliminate the racism that undergirded the institution.
     
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  18. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    I think there is only one more article and I don't think that it is likely that will be the focus.
     
  19. Pat Young

    Pat Young Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host Featured Book Reviewer

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    Actually, there are two more articles.
     

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