The History and Contemporary Relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment
In these original essays, America's leading historians and legal scholars reassess the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment and its relevance to issues of liberty, justice, and equality. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, reasserting the radical, egalitarian dimensions of the Constitution. It also laid the foundations for future civil rights and social justice legislation. Yet subsequent reinterpretation and misappropriation have curbed more substantive change. With constitutional jurisprudence undergoing a revival, The Promises of Liberty provides a full portrait of the Thirteenth Amendment and its potential for ensuring liberty.
The collection begins with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Brion Davis, who discusses the failure of the Thirteenth Amendment to achieve its framers' objectives. The next piece, by Alexander Tsesis, provides a detailed account of the Amendment's revolutionary character. James M. McPherson, another Pulitzer recipient, recounts the influence of abolitionists on the ratification process, and Paul Finkelman focuses on who freed the slaves and President Lincoln's commitment to ending slavery. Michael Vorenberg revisits the nineteenth century's understanding of freedom and citizenship and the Amendment's surprisingly small role in the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction periods. William M. Wiecek shows how the Supreme Court's narrow interpretation once rendered the guarantee of freedom nearly illusory, and the collection's third Pulitzer Prize winner, David M. Oshinsky, explains how peonage undermined the prohibition against compulsory service.
Subsequent essays relate the Thirteenth Amendment to congressional authority, hate crimes legislation, the labor movement, and immigrant rights. These chapters analyze unique features of the amendment along with its elusive meanings and affirm its power to reform criminal and immigration law, affirmative action policies, and the protection of civil liberties.
An important addition to the scholarship on an important aspect of America's constitutional heritage.... Highly recommended.Choice
...this book is an informative treatment of a depressing subject.
This volume is well edited and the essayists expertly chosen. Alexander Tsesis of Loyola University Chicago School of Law has assembled an unusually compact and cogent collection of the best work on the Thirteenth Amendment.
A riveting, provocative collection of essays by what can only be described as an all-star team of historians and legal analysts.
Michael S. Green
Foreword: The Rocky Road to Freedom -- Crucial Barriers to Abolition in the Antebellum Years, by David Brion Davis
1. Introduction: The Thirteenth Amendment's Revolutionary Aims, by Alexander Tsesis
Part 1: Historical Settings
2. In Pursuit of Constitutional Abolitionism, by James M. McPherson
3. The Civil War, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment: Understanding Who Freed the Slaves, by Paul Finkelman
4. Citizenship and the Thirteenth Amendment: Understanding the Deafening Silence, by Michael Vorenberg
5. Emancipation and Civic Status: The American Experience, 1865--1915, by William M. Wiecek
6. Convict Labor in the Post--Civil War South: Involuntary Servitude After the Thirteenth Amendment, by David M. Oshinsky
7. The Thirteenth Amendment and a New Deal for Civil Rights, by Risa L. Goluboff
8. The Workers' Freedom of Association Under the Thirteenth Amendment, by James Gray Pope
Part 2: Current Legal Landscapes
9. The Badges and Incidents of Slavery and the Power of Congress to Enforce the Thirteenth Amendment, by George A. Rutherglen
10. The Promise of Congressional Enforcement, by Rebecca E. Zietlow
11. Protecting Full and Equal Rights: The Floor and More, by Aviam Soifer
12. Forced Labor Revisited: The Thirteenth Amendment and Abortion, by Andrew Koppelman
13. The Slave Power Undead: Criminal Justice Successes and Failures of the Thirteenth Amendment, by Andrew E. Taslitz
14. Toward a Thirteenth Amendment Exclusionary Rule as a Remedy for Racial Profiling, by William M. Carter
15. Immigrant Workers and the Thirteenth Amendment, by Maria L. Ontiveros
16. A Thirteenth Amendment Agenda for the Twenty-first Century: Of Promises, Power, and Precaution, by Darrell A. H. Miller
17. Epilogue: The Enduring Legacy of the Thirteenth Amendment, by Robert J. Kaczorowski
List of Contributors