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Inherently Unequal

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
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
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Published January 1st 2011 by Walker Books Ltd
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Lauren
Mar 09, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted so much more from this book. The Supreme Court’s complicity towards racism in the 19th Century is covered – albeit in less detail – in law school, but the book never ventures beyond hinting at an elevated legal and political analysis of the subject. If anything, the book strikes me as a survey intended for a general audience – except that the style and tone are more suited to a legal audience. I relied on my own study of the law to fill in some of the blanks in the analysis, and I have ...more
David
Mar 10, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, kindle
The period after the Civil War was supposed to usher in some semblance of equality for just-freed African-Americans. Three constitutional amendments, a republican majority in a very strong federal government and an occupied South should have combined to guarantee this equality. Instead, the US Supreme Court gutted the amendments, legalized Jim Crow laws, gave us "equal but separate" (as it was first called), and shifted the rights of the three amendments to corporations - they're the guys we nee ...more
Deane
Mar 20, 2011 Deane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started to rate this book a 3. After all, Goldstone is a writer, not a professional historian. And, I was going to say that its treatment of the subject was too surface, not deep enough.

As I finished the book, I thought what's not to like? It's an engaging treatment of a subject that could be dry, an overall look at a period of American history of which I knew little, with enough detail on case law (all I wanted), and includes a review of social issues that influenced American thought and acti
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Robert Owen
“Inherently Unequal” is a guided tour through the Supreme Court decisions in the latter half of the 19th century that legitimated the Jim Crow racial oppression that characterized America in the first 2/3 of the 20th century. Yet in that Lawrence Goldstone takes the time to place these decisions in their appropriate post-Civil War political and social context, his book is much more than simply a compendium of key court rulings – it is a discussion of our past that makes much of our present compr ...more
Peter Spencer
Aug 25, 2015 Peter Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The descent of the United States into enforced segregation, into a nation where human beings could be tortured and horribly murdered without trial, is a story profoundly tragic and profoundly American. And the Supreme Court was a central player in the tale.
If the Court's complicity in the subversion of equal rights had been due to rogue justices, or was an aberration of jurisprudence, Americans of the current day might merely shake their heads, deplore a shameful episode in their history, and c
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Ariel Castellon
Oct 13, 2011 Ariel Castellon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book about the aftermath of the civil war according to the 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution. They mainly dealt with voting right and how they should not be infringed upon according the your race; Native Americans though were not counted as a race but as a conquered peoples. (another subject altogether)

The book basically tells the story about how the country and its supreme court judges were just not ready for the full integration of African Americans in the political and
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Erin
Apr 05, 2013 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although a DENSE read, I found this to be a really enlightening description of the Court's reaction to public sentiment, political competition with the legislature, and personal prejudices during the time between the ratification of the Reconstruction Amendments and the rise of Jim Crow laws. I won't lie, it's clear that the author has a definite liberal slant- but looking beyond that is a pretty vivid discussion of federal versus state rights, and what happens when states cross a pretty major m ...more
Rick Fonda
Aug 02, 2016 Rick Fonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1869 the Fifteenth Amendment was passed : "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude" yet by the early 20th century Jim Crow laws in the South prevented all but a tiny fraction of African-Americans from voting. How could and did this happen? Hint: the Supreme Court had a lot to do with it...
Avery Dresser
A revealing look at the dark past of institutional racism that we still haven't put behind us. Goldstone effectively weaves together historical anecdotes, biography, and analysis of the legal proceedings of the civil war, reconstruction, and post-reconstruction era supreme court, that altogether make it clear exactly how and why Jim Crow racism came to enjoy legal protection and institutional dominance in the American South.
Grace
Jun 07, 2014 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. Historical context is great, but a lot of his language is hyperbolic, and his analysis of the opinions, statutes, and arguments is fuzzy. Agree with other reviewers who said they expected/wanted more.
John
Mar 12, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting history of a little talked about period in American history. Very effective at making the case against "activist judges."
Meryl Nesbit
I listened on Audible and I felt that the writer showed bias toward the Supreme Court. More research may have been needed on my part to grasp this part of history.
Elizabeth
Jun 30, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing and intense look into the legal system after the Civil War. Detailed looked at all the cases that lead up to Plessy. Loved this book!
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Lawrence Goldstone is the author of fourteen books of both fiction and non-fiction. Six of those books were co-authored with his wife, Nancy, but they now write separately to save what is left of their dishes.
Goldstone's articles, reviews, and opinion pieces have appeared in, among other publications, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Hartford Courant, and Berkshi
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