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Reflections On From Slaves To Citizens Bondage, Freedom And The Constitution: The New Slavery Scholarship And Its Impact On Law And Legal Historiography, Robert J. Kaczorowski
The thesis of Professor Donald Nieman's paper, "From Slaves to Citizens: African-Americans, Rights Consciousness, and Reconstruction," is that the nation experienced a revolution in the United States Constitution and in the consciousness of African Americans. According to Professor Nieman, the Reconstruction Amendments represented "a dramatic departure from antebellum constitutional principles,"' because the Thirteenth Amendment reversed the pre-Civil War constitutional guarantee of slavery and "abolish[ed] slavery by federal authority." The Fourteenth Amendment rejected the Supreme Court's "racially-based definition of citizenship [in Dred Scott v. Sandford4], clearly establishing a color-blind citizenship” and the Fifteenth Amendment "wrote the principle of ...