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Inherently Unequal Audiobook

Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903

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Publisher's Summary

A potent and original examination of how the Supreme Court subverted justice and empowered the Jim Crow era.

In the following years following the Civil War, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery; the 14th conferred citizenship and equal protection under the law to white and black; and the 15th gave black American males the right to vote. In 1875, the most comprehensive civil rights legislation in the nation's history granted all Americans "the full and equal enjoyment" of public accommodations. Just eight years later, the Supreme Court, by an 8-1 vote, overturned the Civil Rights Act as unconstitutional and, in the process, disemboweled the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment. Using court records and accounts of the period, Lawrence Goldstone chronicles how "by the dawn of the 20th century the U.S. had become the nation of Jim Crow laws, quasi-slavery, and precisely the same two-tiered system of justice that had existed in the slave era."

The very human story of how and why this happened make Inherently Unequal as important as it is provocative. Examining both celebrated decisions like Plessy v. Ferguson and those often overlooked, Goldstone demonstrates how the Supreme Court turned a blind eye to the obvious reality of racism, defending instead the business establishment and status quo - thereby legalizing the brutal prejudice that came to definite the Jim Crow era.

©2011 Lawrence Goldstone (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    Phil O. San Diego, CA, United States 07-24-17
    Phil O. San Diego, CA, United States 07-24-17 Member Since 2011

    Business Law Professor. Fan of history, finance, law, politics

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    "Lurid start, then top legal-political history"

    The book opens with a lynching so grisly, it shocks even now. I was concerned I might be flogged all through with a too-anxiously-lopsided view, which is unlistenable to me no matter what the topic is, or side taken. (I want the whole story, with depths and dimensions in all the arguments and players! Especially, that includes those I am inclined to disagree with.)
    It turns out, the writing is masterful, as a legal story, and as a story generally. The Reconstruction era and the arrival of the 14th Amendment mark a major turning point in US and global history. The nature and job of the US federal government (hinging on these changes to the Constitution) changed dramatically and forever, though certainly not, as it played out, as various idealists hoped. Due attention to this requires skillfully unpacking the people, events and ideas around it. This book accomplishes that, right along the sweet spot between being listenable and being informative. It takes a lot of work to hone a book to this point.
    The narrator is very gifted and fits the material like a glove. I hope to hear more from him.
    This book earned my highest compliment: I am dreaming it at night.

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