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Inherently Unequal

The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865–1903
Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865–1903. Walker. Feb. 2011. c.256p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802717924. $26. LAW
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Goldstone (The Activist: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review) has written an absorbing account of the Supreme Court's role following the Civil War. The United States faced many issues during this turbulent period, principally freedmen's civil rights and the repatriation of the Southern states. Goldstone argues that the Supreme Court failed to enforce the laws designed to ensure freedmen's rights, particularly in regard to the 14th Amendment. While focusing on the Court and its decisions, the book also delves into race relations, social science, and the expansion of government post-Appomattox. The author links these subjects with legal debates, painting a portrait of the postwar period that explains how and why civil rights largely were disregarded during this time. The final chapter explores the far-reaching consequences of Reconstruction, including the beginnings of the African American migration to the North and the start of an antilynching campaign.
VERDICT Readers interested in the Reconstruction period and Supreme Court history will want to read this book.

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