Plessy v. Ferguson: A Brief History with Documents

Overview

This text offers a concise analysis of the Plessy case, allowing readers to understand the Court's reasoning, the social and political realities that made such a decision possible, and the immediate effects on public life. Thomas's comprehensive introduction explains the complicated legal issues involved in both the majority decision and the lone dissent by Justice John Marshall Harlan. a rich collection of primary documents-including court decisions, Booker T. Washington's 1895 'Atlanta Exposition Address, ' an ...
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Overview

This text offers a concise analysis of the Plessy case, allowing readers to understand the Court's reasoning, the social and political realities that made such a decision possible, and the immediate effects on public life. Thomas's comprehensive introduction explains the complicated legal issues involved in both the majority decision and the lone dissent by Justice John Marshall Harlan. a rich collection of primary documents-including court decisions, Booker T. Washington's 1895 'Atlanta Exposition Address, ' an essay by W.E.B. Du Bois, and a previously unpublished speech by Charles W. Chesnutt-enables readers to recreate for themselves the context of the debates and to conditions in which the decision was made.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Brook Thomas is chair of the English and Comparative Literature Department at the University of California, Irvine. After a book on James Joyce's Ulysses (1982), he turned his attention to the intersections of law, literature, and cultural history in the United States. He is author of Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature: Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville (1987): The New Historicism and Other Old-Fashioned Topics (1991); and American Literary Realism and the Failed Promise of Contract (1997). He has lectured on Plessy v. Ferguson to more than five thousand undergraduates over the course of several years.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Pt. 1 Introduction: The Legal Background 1
The Civil War Amendments 11
The Slaughter-House Cases and Their Implications 18
The Civil Rights Cases and Their Consequences 23
Plessy's Argument before the Court 29
The Majority Decision 31
Harlan's Dissent 34
Pt. 2 The Documents 39
1 Plessy v. Ferguson, May 18, 1896 41
2 Selected Views on the "Race Question" at the Time of Plessy 61
The Race Question in the United States, September 1890 62
Race Amalgamation, August 1896 76
Capacity of the Negro - His Position in the North. The Color Line in New England, 1890 101
Atlanta Exposition Address, September 18, 1895 119
Central Law Review, January 17, 1896 125
3 Responses to Plessy 127
Times-Picayune, Equality, but Not Socialism, May 19, 1896 128
Tribune, The Unfortunate Law of the Land May 19, 1896 128
Union Advertiser, State Sovereignty, May 19, 1896 129
Democrat and Chronicle, A Strange Decision, May 20, 1896 129
Republican, May 20, 1896 131
Evening Journal, May 20, 1896 131
Journal, May 20, 1896 132
Dispatch, Separate Coaches, May 21, 1896 133
Weekly Blade, May 30, 1896 133
A.M.E. Church Review, June 1896 134
Who Is Permanently Hurt? June 1896 135
Central Law Journal, August 14, 1896 136
Michigan Law Journal, 1896 137
American Law Review, 1896 138
Virginia Law Register, 1896 139
Strivings of the Negro People, 1897 140
The Courts and the Negro, ca. 1911 149
From The Fourteenth Amendment and the States, 1912 161
Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Harlan, 1912 164
Pt. 3 Conclusion: In the Wake of Plessy 169
Members of the Court 179
Chronology of Events Related to Plessy (1849-1925) 186
Questions for Consideration 190
Selected Bibliography 193
Index 196
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