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date: 16 October 2021

p. 886. Law: 1866–1876locked

p. 886. Law: 1866–1876locked

  • Allen C. Guelzo


So much of Reconstruction is understood as a struggle over race, politics, and the nature of state sovereignty within a federal system that not enough attention is paid to how it was also a constitutional struggle between the branches of the federal government. ‘Law, 1866–876’ describes the key legal debates that were raised during the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses S. Grant. The U.S. Constitution apportioned various federal responsibilities among the three federal branches—executive (the presidency), legislative (Congress), and judicial (the federal courts)—but it did not do so evenly or in the same detail.

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