Our Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy

By George P. Fletcher | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
THE REVOLUTION
THAT NEVER WAS

“Only when Lee handed Grant his sword was the Confederacy born.” 1

—Robert Penn Warren

Revolutions are never easy. The people who inhabit the new regime are the same as those who dominated the old detested order. They cannot be expected to change quickly. The judges who interpret the new law are basically the same as those who interpreted the old law. Even if the law changes, even if there is a nominally new constitution, the process of reading the new document will gravitate toward the old. The regime changes, but the people are, after all, the same.

The ancient Israelites would spend forty years wandering in the desert before the passing of time would generate a new people, unaffected by the mentality of the “fleshpots of Egypt.” Modern political conditions rarely offer this luxury. The Soviets dreamed of creating a “new man” who would regard the communist system as the natural backdrop for cooperation. History never gave them the chance. But Germans could engineer a radical transformation after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of the country. The West Germans absorbed the former German Democratic Republic and then restaffed the courts and the law faculties with new personnel, drawn overwhelmingly from Western ranks.

-113-

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Our Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction - The Argument for the Secret Constitution 1
  • Chapter 1 - Redemption Under Law 15
  • Chapter 2 - Radical Gettysburg 35
  • Chapter 3 - Nationhood 57
  • Chapter 4 - Loyalty and Betrayal 75
  • Chapter 5 - Equality 91
  • Chapter 6 - The Revolution That Never Was 113
  • Chapter 7 - Equality Without Vision 141
  • Chapter 8 - A Maxim of Justice: Its Birth and Rebirth 165
  • Chapter 9 - The Secret Constitution Resurgent 189
  • Chapter 10 - Government as Partner Against the Past 211
  • Chapter 11 - Neither Blue nor Gray 225
  • Afterword - Election Blues 2000 231
  • Notes 261
  • Index 285
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