This biography reflects two movements--the use of biography as history through contextualized political biography, and the revisiting of the Civil War era to address historical inaccuracies. Magliocca makes clear his purpose to resurrect Bingham as a primary constitutional actor whose work, life, and purposes influence the application of constitutional principles in American law and politics. Although brief, this lucidly written book provides just enough information about Bingham's life, roles, and thoughts to place upon him both the gloss of humanness and the prestige of framer/founder. It is short enough and comprehensive enough to serve as a welcome reading for history, politics, and law students and scholars seeking to explore the Fourteenth Amendment through its primary framer's intellectual history. Bingham's thoughts were forged in difficult times, with hard-won understandings of human and political nature. The lack of materials on his personal life hampers the book as biography. But as a biography of ideas as much as of a man, the book well serves its primary purpose of reclamation and provides a basis for further work. American Founding Son helps dispel the belief that the Fourteenth Amendment is a series of platitudes to capture what was, rather than a forcefully
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Feb 5, 2015
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