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A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era: Judicial Decisions, 1867–1896
edited by Thomas C. Mackey
University of Tennessee Press, 2012
Cloth: 978-1-62190-040-5 | eISBN: 978-1-62190-066-5
Library of Congress Classification E459.D53 2012
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.7

A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era is the first comprehensive collection
of public policy actions, political speeches, and judicial decisions related to the American
Civil War. Collectively, the four volumes in this series give scholars, teachers, and students
easy access to the full texts of the most important, fundamental documents as well as hardto-
find, rarely published primary sources on this critical period in U.S. history.

The first two volumes of the series, Legislative Achievements and Political Arguments,
were released last year. The final installment, Judicial Decisions, is divided into two volumes.
The first volume, spanning the years 1857 to 1866, was released last year. This second
volume of Judicial Decisions covers the years 1867 to 1896. Included here are some of
the classic judicial decisions of this time such as the 1869 decision in Texas v. White and
the first judicial interpretation of the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment, the 1873 Slaughter-
House Cases
. Other decisions are well known to specialists but deserve wider readership
and discussion, such as the 1867 state and 1878 federal cases that upheld the separation of
the races in public accommodations (and thus constituted the common law of common
commerce) long before the more notorious 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson (also included).
These judicial voices constitute a lasting and often overlooked aspect of the age of Abraham
Lincoln. Mackey’s headnotes and introductory essays situate cases within their historical
context and trace their lasting significance. In contrast to decisions handed down
during the war, these judicial decisions lasted well past their immediate political and legal
moment and deserve continued scholarship and scrutiny.

This document collection presents the raw “stuff” of the Civil War era so that students,
scholars, and interested readers can measure and gauge how that generation met Lincoln’s
challenge to “think anew, and act anew.” A Documentary History of the American Civil
War Era
is an essential acquisition for academic and public libraries in addition to being a
valuable resource for courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, legal history, political
history, and nineteenth-century American history.
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