A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1

By Melvin I. Urofsky; Paul Finkelman | Go to book overview

21

Reconstruction

Governmental Deadlock • The Military Reconstruction Acts •
The New State Governments • Southern Resistance •
Restricting the Executive • Impeachment • The Senate Trial •
The Meaning of Acquittal • Reconstruction in the Courts •
Ex Parte Milligan • Testing Congressional Reconstruction
Powers • McCardle and Yerger • Texas v. White •
Changing the Size of the Court • The Legal Tender Cases •
The End of Reconstruction • The Election of 1876 •
Conclusion: The Legacy of Reconstruction • For Further
Reading

THE CIVIL WAR confirmed the indivisibility of the Union, but at its end the former Confederate states remained out of their normal relationship. Although Andrew Johnson had attempted to restore them with minimal conditions, congressional Republicans, backed by an overwhelming popular majority in the North, insisted that the Southern states provide meaningful guarantees for the civil rights of freedmen. Had the South made at least a good faith effort in this area, it might have escaped the traumas of congressional Reconstruction. The old view of Radical Republicans hell-bent on imposing a vindictive settlement has been discredited by historians, as have other myths of the 1865–1877 period, but the issues raised continue to warrant our attention.


Governmental Deadlock

By separating the executive and legislative authority, the Framers had sought to erect checks and balances to prevent the federal government from developing into a tyranny. They had assumed, however, that the two branches would work in harmony, resolving their differences for the common welfare of the nation, and from 1789 to 1865 the plan had worked well enough. The overwhelming repudiation of President Johnson's policy in the 1866 election left the nation in the unprecedented position of having its chief executive totally bereft of public or congressional support. In a parliamentary system

-451-

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A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • For Susan and Byrgen—yet Again v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: From the Old World to the New 1
  • 2: Law in Colonial America 17
  • 3: The Road to Independence 39
  • 4: The Revolutionary Era 61
  • 5: The Crisis of Confederation 80
  • 6: A More Perfect Union 93
  • 7: Launching the Great Experiment 120
  • 8: The Supreme Court: the First Decade 147
  • 9: The Changing Face of the Law 165
  • 10: Adams, Jefferson, and the Courts 181
  • 11: The Marshall Court and National Power 207
  • 12: The Marshall Court and Economic Development 229
  • 13: A Law Made for the Times 248
  • 14: Politics, Nationalism, and Competition 271
  • 15: Jacksonian Democracy 296
  • 16: The Taney Court: Change and Continuity 320
  • 17: The Peculiar Laws of America's Peculiar Institution 337
  • 18: A House Dividing 366
  • 19: The Union Sundered 401
  • 20: The Union Unrestored 429
  • 21: Reconstruction 451
  • 22: The Court and Civil Rights 479
  • Appendixes - The Declaration of Independence 501
  • Articles of Confederation 505
  • Constitution of the United States 511
  • Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court 528
  • Case Index 537
  • Subject Index 542
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