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  • Cited by 3
  • Ilan Wurman, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2020
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:

Book description

In The Second Founding: An Introduction to the Fourteenth Amendment, Ilan Wurman provides an illuminating introduction to the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment's famous provisions 'due process of law,' 'equal protection of the laws,' and the 'privileges' or 'immunities' of citizenship. He begins by exploring the antebellum legal meanings of these concepts, starting from Magna Carta, the Statutes of Edward III, and the Petition of Right to William Blackstone and antebellum state court cases. The book then traces how these concepts solved historical problems confronting framers of the Fourteenth Amendment, including the comity rights of free blacks, private violence and the denial of the protection of the laws, and the notorious abridgment of freedmen's rights in the Black Codes. Wurman makes a compelling case that, if the modern originalist Supreme Court interpreted the Amendment in 'the language of the law,' it would lead to surprising and desirable results today.


Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2021, Choice Reviews


'A concise and brilliant overview of the Fourteenth Amendment's hardest questions, by the brightest young scholar in law teaching today.'

Steven G. Calabresi - Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

'The clearest, most straightforward book explaining our Constitution's promises of equal citizenship, the rule of law, and protection from violence.'

Christopher R. Green - University of Mississippi School of Law and author of Equal Citizenship, Civil Rights, and the Constitution

'This timely book shows how the country ended slavery and embraced a new constitutional vision of equality in the wake of the Civil War.'

Michael W. McConnell - Stanford Law School

'A bold and wide-ranging exploration of the Fourteenth Amendment’s key rights-bearing provisions, staking out an ambitious thesis that is grounded in history and defended with clarity and verve.'

Julian Davis Mortenson - University of Michigan Law School

'This diligent, comprehensive study of the Fourteenth Amendment, its framers, and its foes raises the bar for the next generation of originalists, nonoriginalists, and those who ‘play in the joints.’'

Shaakirrah R. Sanders - University of Idaho College of Law

‘This is an extremely well researched and written book that all Americans should read … Highly recommended.’

M. D. Brewer Source: Choice

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