The Plessy Case; A Legal-Historical Interpretation / Edition 1

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Overview


In 1896 the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson upheld "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races" on all passenger railways within the state of Louisiana. In this account with implications for present-day America, Lofgren traces the roots of this landmark case in the post-Civil War South and pinpoints its moorings in the era's constitutional, legal, and intellectual doctrines. After reviewing de facto racial separation and the shift by southern states to legislated transportation segregation, he shows that the Fourteenth Amendment became a ready vehicle for legitimating classification by race. At the same time, scientists and social scientists were proclaiming black racial inferiority and lower courts were embracing separate-but-equal in ordinary law suits. Within this context, a group of New Orleans blacks launched a judicial challenge to Louisiana's 1890 Separate Car Law and carried the case to the Supreme Court, where the resulting opinions by Justices Henry Billings Brown and John Marshall Harlan pitted legal doctrines and "expert" opinion about race against the idea of a color-blind Constitution. Throughout his account, Lofgren probes the intellectual premises that shaped this important episode in the history of law and race in America--an episode that still raises troubling questions about racial classification and citizenship--revealing its dynamics and place in the continuum of legal change.

Lofgren traces the roots of this landmark case in the post-Civil War South and pinpoints its moorings in the era's constitutional, legal, and intellectual doctrines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Richly documented, well-written....Constitutional scholars will most certainly accept Lofgren's work as the definitive study of the Plessy case."--American Historical Review

"An important work, one that belongs in every research and law library. It is essential reading for all scholars dealing with the history of constititional protections of American civil rights."--American Journal of Legal History

"An intelligent and provocative study...[that] is likely to remain definitive."--Journal of Southern History

"Well-researched and thoughtful...Deserves the attention of all those interested in civil rights law and history."--Journal of American History

"A close, valuable look at a crucial bit of history."--Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195056846
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Claremont McKenna College
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Table of Contents

Introduction "The Plessy Prison" 3
Chapter 1 De Facto to De Jure: Transportation Segregation in the South from the Civil War to the 1890s 7
Chapter 2 Plessy in Louisiana: The Test Cases 28
Chapter 3 Plessy in Louisiana: The Constitutional Clash 44
Chapter 4 The Constitutional Environment: Lost Origins and Judicial Deference 61
Chapter 5 The Intellectual Environment: Racist Thought in the Late Nineteenth Century 93
Chapter 6 The Transportation Law Environment: Access by Leave, Not Right 116
Chapter 7 Plessy Before the United States Supreme Court 148
Chapter 8 The Court Decides: Jim Crow Affirmed 174
Chapter 9 Speaking to the Future 196
Notes 209
Table of Cases 255
Index 261
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2001

    excellent

    just fine scholarship. *the* book on the plessy case.

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