The Limits of Jurisprudence-Building

in The Two Reconstructions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780226845289
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226845272 | DOI:
The Limits of Jurisprudence-Building

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Jurisprudence-building followed the formation of the 1867–1868 coalition. It resulted in the Fifteenth Amendment. Coupled to that achievement were elections statutes that implemented both it and the Fourteenth Amendment. These made it a crime for public officials and private parties “to obstruct exercise of the right to vote” and established detailed federal supervision of the electoral process, from registration to the certification of returns. In turn, a new generation of federal judges and government lawyers worked feverishly in Washington and in the federal judicial districts and circuits to make the new array of powers work. This chapter aims to trace the voting rights jurisprudence that the Republicans initially sought to construct—and to depict its deterioration by the mid-1870s. Doing so offers essential contrast with the second reconstruction. The best place to begin is with the Fifteenth Amendment, this chapter states.

Keywords: jurisprudence-building; coalition formation; Fifteenth Amendment; electoral statutes; electoral process; Republicans

Chapter.  9261 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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