Don’t take that arc of justice or march of progress for granted

Eric Foner writes:

Reconstruction poses a challenge to Americans’ historical understanding because we prefer stories with happy endings. Unfortunately, the overthrow of the South’s biracial governments, accomplished in part by terrorist violence, was followed by a long period of legally enforced white supremacy. Yet this itself offers a timely lesson – that there is nothing inevitable or predetermined in the onward march of freedom and equality. Reconstruction and its aftermath remind us that rights in the Constitution are not self-enforcing, and that our liberties can never be taken for granted. [link]


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