Eric Foner Thesis

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Eric Foner explains in, “The Checkered History of the Great Fourteenth Amendment,” that in addition to providing the revolutionary act of promoting black American's freedom, the Fourteenth Amendment was one of the most critical outcomes of the Civil War because it set a precedent for the federal government to have power over state governments. The amendment represented a turning tide where the “national state” was no longer viewed as “as a threat to liberty”(Foner). For the first time in American History, the federal government truly possessed the power to act as a benevolent overseer of it's citizens. The amendment also gave the Constitution “malleability,” ensuring the voice of citizens would be incorporated into government policies(Foner).

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