When I first became seriously interested in the study of Reconstruction policy at the national level I quickly learned that I had to do a lot of reading about constitutional and legal history. I quickly discovered that there was a rich literature about the Fourteenth Amendment and the intent of the framers and ratifiers of that amendment. That debate was sparked in large part by debates over how the amendment should be interpreted and applied to various situations. Sometimes people read back into the past what they wanted to read to justify present-day positions; this is usually the case when people try to discover intent.
I take a different approach. Continue reading