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American Founding Son


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He is the author of three books on constitutional law, and his work on Andrew Jackson was the subject of an hour-long program on C-Span's Book TV.


How this leading antislavery lawyer shaped Union policy vis-a-vis the defeated South and wrote most of the amendment guaranteeing equal rights to all Americans. * American History *
For someone so involved with the watershed events of 19th-century US history, John A. Bingham has largely escaped modern scholars' notice, even in the current book of Civil War-era commemorations. This oversight is puzzling, since Bingham was a major political figure of his time, as Magliocca ably demonstrates...Magliocca takes readers through a learned yet accessible analysis of Bingham's legal and congressional careers, showing how Bingham's constitutional thought on citizenship, rights, and liberties evolved, climaxing with his drafting of the Fourteenth Amendment's preamble. Students of legal, constitutional, and Civil War-era history should read this fine volume on an important yet neglected figure. * Choice *
This volume on Bingham made me rethink some things I thought I was taught in high school history class. Magliocca did a wonderful job of searching, often sparse records, in order to give a full-orbed view of political history in America. I feel like the legacy of a man like Bingham is often forgotten among those who have largely left the politics to highly paid professionals who sit on Washingtons hill. Its stories like these, a relatively no-name person from the middle of nowhere rising to power and changing history. We can all learn from Bingham, not only from his big wins, but from his losses as well. We should all be so concerned for freedom as Bingham was, it would make a small difference today which may change the pages of history hundreds of years down the road. * Protestant Voices *
Professor Gerard Magliocca spares no detail in his comprehensive review of John Bingham's life and his drafting of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. For history buffs, constitutional scholars, and civil war experts, the book is a smorgasbord of facts about a critical period in America's history. The reader is taken step by step through the political and legal hurdles required to enact one of the most significant post-Bill of Rights provisions of our Constitution. * Los Angeles Review of Books *
Given Binghams central role in the incorporation debate,American Founding Sonis long overdue. Scholars and lawyers who are interested in the incorporation debate eagerly have awaited this book. They will not be disappointed. [] [T]hose seeking to understand the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment will find a wealth of information in the pages ofAmerican Founding Son. * Law and History Review *
Gerard Magliocca has done nearly as much as anyone could to resurrect John Bingham, and he has succeeded in making Bingham come alive as an important political player in the Civil War era. [H]e has certainly restored Bingham to a rightful place in Civil War political and legal history. -- Allen Guelzo * The Wall Street Journal *
Gerard Magliocca has done the country a great service by writing the first biography of one of America's most important but under-appreciated statesmen. John Bingham, the father of the Fourteenth Amendment, helped put a guarantee of individual equality into the U.S. Constitution. In this important book, Magliocca tells the fascinating story of a crucial figure in our country's long struggle to establish justice and create a more perfect union. -- Jack M. Balkin,Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Yale Law School
Gerard Magliocca makes the most of the sometimes scanty evidence to paint an illuminating portrait of Ohio Congressman John Bingham, the author of Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment and perhaps our most neglected 'framer' of the Constitution. From leading the impeachment prosecution of President Andrew Johnson, to serving as Ambassador to Japan, Bingham's life was fascinating. And so too is this book that every student of our constitutional history should read. -- Randy E. Barnett,Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory & Director, Georgetown Center for the Constitution
Gerard Magliocca rescues John Bingham from his moment of fame as the author of the Fourteenth Amendment, and presents a nuanced understanding of his life and thought. An important contribution that provides deep insight into our constitutional tradition. -- Bruce Ackerman,Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University
Gerard Magliocca traces Bingham's life from humble beginnings in Pennsylvania through his career as a leader of the Republican Party. This is an excellent examination of Bingham, who was a major force in shaping the America that emerged from the Civil War. -- Frank J. Williams * Civil War News *
Magliocca has done valuable work in bringing to public attention the story of an interesting and important states-man of the mid-19th century. As an enemy of slavery and advocate for constitutional freedom, John Bingham has been too long neglected. -- Burrus M. Carnahan * The Federal Lawyer *
Magliocca presents this evidence in a fine narrative, an excellent example of an intellectual biography. It preserves a chronological presentation, without obscuring the primacy of the subject's legal and political thoughts. -- David Upham * Online Library of Law and Liberty *
This is a worthy biography that will illume...many of the controversies that surround interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment....Certainly, the picture that emerges from this book is much fuller than scholars have had to date. -- John R. Vile * Law and Politics Book Review *
Until now, however, we have lacked an adequate biography of Bingham. This lacuna has just been filled by Gerard N. Magliocca. He dubs Bingham the 'Founding Son'the man who repaired the flawed work of the Founding Fathers and made equal citizen rights part of the Constitution. Without Bingham, writes Magliocca, there would have been no Fourteenth Amendment as we know it (186). His handiwork is the most important part of the Constitution. Bingham also coined that now-common phrase, the 'Bill of Rights.' -- Daniel W. Crofts * Civil War Book Review *
In this clearly written and extensively researched biography of John Bingham, Gerard Magliocca explains that researchers have neglected Bingham despite his important legislative contributions. * The Historian *
Magliocca's frankly political biography embodies Bingham and his ideals sufficiently to correct the record with 'considerable explanatory force'...This lucidly written book provides just enough information about Bingham's life, roles, and thoughts to place upon him both the gloss of humanness and the prestige of framer/founder...American Founding Sonhelps dispel the belief that the Fourteenth Amendment is a series of platitudes to capture what was, rather than a forcefully honed and carefully crafted disruption both to create what should have been and what could be. * The Journal of the Civil War Era *

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