The Second Founding by Eric Foner

The Second Founding

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, an authoritative story of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation.The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal, but it took the Civil War and the subsequent adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as American law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and the equal protection o...

Details The Second Founding

TitleThe Second Founding
Release DateSep 17th, 2019
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Politics, Military History, Civil War, North American Hi..., American History, War

Reviews The Second Founding

  • Ryan Boissonneault
    We shouldn’t forget that the original United States Constitution, for all its brilliance, did explicitly condone the practice of slavery. For example, the “three-fifths compromise” counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of calculating state representation in Congress, while Article 1, Section 9, Clause 1 prohibited Congress from passing laws banning slavery until 1808. Additionally, Article 4, Section 2 states, in essenc...
  • Donald Powell
    History is so important. I wish more people would spend more time learning, discussing and making decisions based upon our own, fairly recent, history. Eric Foner is the pre-eminent historian regarding the Reconstruction/Redemption era of the United States. This book is partially a review of his more comprehensive tome regarding these events; however, he does a detailed analysis of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the constitution in this sm...
  • Kurt Ronn
    The next time politics of equality enters a conversation and someone says that they are a strict constitutionalist, ask them about forced slavery, women’s rights, and Asian immigrants. Tell them that strict constitutionalism is a bullshit excuse for not supporting equal rights. Tell them to read The Second Founding and then find someone else to talk to at the cocktail party. Recognize, today, all states have laws based on state precedent that u...
  • Aletha Pagett
    This book, received from Goodreads, is an in depth exploration of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments. The depth of research and scholarship is superb. This should be a must read in today's volatile society.
  • Adam Shields
    Summary: A historical look at the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments in the context of reconstruction history.I am a big fan of Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 by Eric Foner. I have yet to read his biography of Lincoln or his book on the Underground Railroad, but those are both on my list to get to eventually.The Second Founding is mainly looking at the history around the Reconstruction Constitutional Amendments, the 13...
  • C.
    It seems like forever ago that I first read Eric Foner. To be precise, it was 30 years ago, I was a graduate student in history, and his "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution" blew me away (as it has done to many other readers over the years).To say that Foner is the dean of Civil War and Reconstruction studies in this country doesn't begin to do it justice. It says a lot about Foner that he's still producing ground-breaking scholarshi...
  • Socraticgadfly
    Very good overview of how our three Reconstruction amendments came to be. The Thirteenth is the most straightforward, and has had the least judicial application since passage.The Fourteenth, on the other hand, outside of the first eight amendments in the Bill of Rights, is arguably THE Amendment to the Constitution today. And, it's very convoluted within its first section, let alone others that have almost zero legal applicability today. Foner di...
  • Alex
    Covers a lot of ground that Foner has gone over before. But it's not for nothing that he is the preeminent historian of the political, legal, and social revolutions that happened during the Civil War and Reconstruction. He ably narrates the political and social construction of the Reconstruction amendments and their subsequent castration by vile systemic racism and a cowardly Supreme Court. Foner also makes plain the direct relevance these amendm...
  • Matt
    Good enough. I'm bad with keeping tons of names and dates straight, but there was definitely some good insight into the backstory behind the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment.
  • skippyo jifricanus
    the continued insistence by the country's most prominent "left"-leaning academics that america is a work-in-progress gently rendered egalitarian by a malleable constitution isn't just flimsy, citation-laden kowtowing to the powers that be--it's antithetical to very nature of historical researcheric foner?? more like eric BONER!! retire bitch!!!!!!it's remarkable to sit in a room with 6-8 full-time academic historians and listen to them decry fone...
  • Lee
    Amazing; enlightening; distressing. Well worth a second read. Having come of age in what I believed to be a fundamentally stable democracy. I thought I knew what it meant to be a United States citizen; I believed that the bad things that happened to black folks after abolition came about from intransigence in southern states. The three constitutional amendments passed after the civil war were meant to codify how former slaves should be treated. T...
  • Daniel A Littman
    Another excellent book from Eric Foner.Well written, good narrative pacing, strong history. In many ways it is a sad, depressing story, of what might have beens in the era after the Civil War, about how the Civil War & half-hearted Reconstruction did little to affect racist (& sexist) beliefs among the dominant white males, those in the highest levels of power & those on the ground fighting hard to continue their dominance. In the south and in th...
  • Joseph
    A brief overview of the effect that the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments have had on American jurisprudence since the Civil War and Reconstruction ended. The author tells of the struggles African Americans have faced (and continue to face) in their quest for full and equal citizenship before the law. I had read one of the author's previous books about Reconstruction, but found this book much more reader-friendly. Overall, a good quick one volume s...
  • John Munro
    An interesting account of the events surrounding the adoption of the Reconstruction amendments to the constitution. The author describes how they established the locus of rights guarantees in the federal government, and how Reconstruction ebbed as the South resisted the idea that former slaves had the same rights as white men. A curious element of the book is the Appendix, which covers much of the same ground as the main text. All in all, an exce...
  • Joe Armao
    An illuminating and compelling analysis of the policy and politics that gave birth to the Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution, with a critical look at the narrow-minded and bigoted Supreme Court decisions that served to eviscerate their spirit and vision. A compelling and well researched book about our nation's second founding--the long and turbulent struggle to achieve the goal of national citizenship for all Americans.
  • John C Havekotte
    The best of intentions fizzled away!Having educated myself in other areas, it seemed appropriate to begin learning about our Constitution and it's jurisprudence. Since I am a liberal and a humanitarian, I was buoyed by the results of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Unfortunately, real life often strays from the ideals that may so inspire us. Best not to give up but to persevere!
  • Gloria Zak
    First, thank you to the author for allowing me to read the book through the Goodreads giveaway program.The book was well written, thoroughly researched with tremendous detail. However, reading it was nice like reading a text book, so it takes fortitude and time to complete the read.
  • Shamus Ewer
    easy read except for chapters covering supreme court decisions. overall very interesting study of reconstruction period.
  • Vincent Lombardo
    Excellent short account of how the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed and their effect.
  • Grace
    A short but deeply affecting read on how the ambitions and aims of the Reconstruction and its Amendments were betrayed by courts and Presidents alike. Infuriating.
  • Elondon
    A compelling interpretation of constitutional history. Explains how thirteenth and fifteenth amendment interpretation by the SC went wrong and plagues us to the present day.
  • Ricky Carrigan
    A great in-depth study on the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. No historian is better on the Civil War and Reconstruction, I highly recommend this book.