Reconstructing Reconstruction: The Supreme Court and the Production of Historical Truth
Author(s): Pamela Brandwein
In this book Pamela Brandwein examines the post–Civil War struggle between competing political and legal interpretations of slavery and Reconstruction to reveal how accepted historical truth was established. Delving into the circumstances, assumptions, and rhetoric that shaped the “official” story of Reconstruction, Brandwein describes precisely how a dominant interpretation of events ultimately emerged and what its implications have been for twentieth-century judicial decisions, particularly for Supreme Court rulings on civil rights. While analyzing interpretive disputes about slavery, Brandwein offers a detailed rescoring of post–Civil War legislative and constitutional history, including analysis of the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment. Using a familiar historical moment to do new interpretive work, she outlines a sociology of constitutional law, showing how subjective narrative construction can solidify into opaque institutional memory (Duke University Press).
Publisher: Duke University Press
Year of Publication: 1999