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American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment


ISBN13: 9781479819911
Published: March 2016
Publisher: New York University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Paperback
Price: £21.99



John Bingham was the architect of the rebirth of the United States following the Civil War. A leading antislavery lawyer and congressman from Ohio, Bingham wrote the most important part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees fundamental rights and equality to all Americans. He was also at the center of two of the greatest trials in history, giving the closing argument in the military prosecution of John Wilkes Booth's co-conspirators for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and in the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. And more than any other man, Bingham played the key role in shaping the Union's policy towards the occupied ex-Confederate States, with consequences that still haunt our politics. American Founding Son provides the most complete portrait yet of this remarkable statesman.

Drawing on his personal letters and speeches, the book traces Bingham's life from his humble roots in Pennsylvania through his career as a leader of the Republican Party. Gerard N. Magliocca argues that Bingham and his congressional colleagues transformed the Constitution that the Founding Fathers created, and did so with the same ingenuity that their forbears used to create a more perfect union in the 1780s. In this book, Magliocca restores Bingham to his rightful place as one of our great leaders.

Subjects:
Other Jurisdictions , Biography, USA
Contents:
Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Measuring a Man 1
1. Group Think 5
2. Franklin College 11
3. Lawyer and Whig 20
4. Republican Congressman 39
5. And the War Came 66
6. The Trial of the Century 89
7. The Fourteenth Amendment 108
8. Reconstruction and Impeachment 128
9. Farewell to Washington 154
10. Ambassador 167
11. Obscurity 178
Conclusion: Legacy 185
Appendix: The Reconstruction Amendments 189
Notes 191
Bibliography 277
Index 285
About the Author 294