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Our Secret Constitution – How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Our Secret Constitution: How Lincoln Redefined American Democracy

George P. Fletcher


This book asserts that the Civil War marks the end of one era of American legal history, and the beginning of another. Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysberg Address is viewed as the beginning of a new kind of “covert” constitutional law – one with a stronger emphasis on equality in the wake of the abolition of slavery – which was legally established in the Amendments made to the U.S. Constitution between 1865 and 1870. The author asserts that the influence of this “secret constitution”, which has varied in degree from Reconstruction to the present day, is visible in the rulings of the Supreme Co ... More

Keywords: Civil War, constitutional law, equality, Gettysburg Address, legal history, Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction, slavery, Supreme Court, U.S. Constitution

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780195156287
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0195156285.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

George P. Fletcher, author
Columbia University School of Law
Author Webpage