Any poor, misinformed soul who believes the civil war began at Sumter or ended at Appomattox is sadly mistaken. Add to their group the ranks of those who believe the sole purpose of the war was to free the slaves and you most of the public school graduates of the last fifty years. Finally, include those who believe that the reconstruction amendments are compatible with the founder’s constitution – or were legitimately enacted for that matter – and that the legislation and enabling judicial opinions that have flowed from the have somehow helped us realize the promise of the Declaration of Independence and you have a current voting majority in this country.
The problem of course is that none of these things is true. The civil war was just one more historical example of the triumph of industrialization over agriculture. The amendments were passed at the point of a bayonet and after the states slowly reemerged and reasserted their rights the politicians in the pockets of industry found other means to suppress anything that challenged the uniformity required for their hegemony. This book is a record of one such suppression and while the Supreme Court may have recently – after another 50 years of Reconstruction – relented on some of the worst excesses of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 it is too little too late and the economic damage done by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has become as institutionalized as FDR’s social reforms and while we may be a nation we will never again be a republic.
Judgment days : Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the laws that changed America Nick Kotz Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2005 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 522 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -493) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Opposites in almost every way, mortally suspicious of each other at first, Johnson and King were thrust together in the aftermath of JFK”s assassination. Both leaders sensed a historic opportunity born of the popular desire to honor Kennedy”s legacy, and they began a delicate dance of accommodation that moved them, and the entire nation, toward the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Drawing on a wealth of newly available sources – Johnson”s taped telephone conversations, voluminous FBI wiretap logs, previously secret communications between the FBI and the president – Nick Kotz gives us a dramatic narrative, rich in dialogue, that presents this momentous period with horrifying immediacy.
We watch Johnson again applying the arm-twisting tactics that made him infamous in the Senate, and we follow King as he keeps the pressure on in the South through protest and resistance. Judgment Days also reveals how this spirit of teamwork disintegrated when the two leaders parted bitterly over King”s opposition to the Vietnam War. Kotz offers a surprising account that significantly contributes to our understanding of both men and their time.