Eric Foner


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Eric Foner’s Story of American Freedom

Eric Foner has helped us better understand the ambiguous consequences of what were almost always only partial victories.
Thaddeus Stevens

The Radicalism of Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens understood far better than most that fully uprooting slavery meant overthrowing the South’s economic system and challenging property rights.

A Disputed Election, a Constitutional Crisis, Polarisation… Welcome to 1876

Eric Foner sees parallels with our own time but warns that yesterday’s solution would be a disaster.

Racist Litter

A review of Eric Foner's The Second Founding.

An Unfinished Revolution

A new three-part PBS documentary explores the failure of Reconstruction and the Redemption of the South.

The Achievements, and Compromises, of Two Reconstruction-era Amendments

While they advanced African American rights, they had serious flaws, Eric Foner writes.

Why We Need a New Civil War Documentary

The success and brilliance of the new PBS series on Reconstruction is a reminder of the missed opportunity facing the nation.

Welcome to the Second Redemption

The accomplishments of the first black president will be erased by a man who rose to power on slandering him.

A Topic Best Avoided

After the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln faced the issue of sorting out a nation divided over the issue of freed slaves. But what were his views on it?
A photograph of Billie Holiday singing.

The Perfectionist Tradition

The African American perfectionists offered “faith” instead of “hope”—emphasizing the struggle to realize a vision of justice.
A cartoon Trump is shooed away by a hand in a judge's robe

The Case for Disqualification

Three years later, amid another national election, the American public is still slow to understand the enormity of January 6, 2021.
Two men fighting during Shay's Rebellion.

Fights Over American Democracy Reach Back to the Founding Era

In early America, the soaring ideals behind establishing a new democracy were marked by cycles of progress and backlash.
Former President Donald Trump with his attorneys inside the courtroom during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court on April 4, 2023.

A Brief History of the Ku Klux Klan Acts

These 1870s laws to protect Black voters, ignored for decades, now being used against Trump.
Covers of popular history books.

Who Is History For?

What happens when radical historians write for the public.
A U.S. flag superimposed over a crowd of faces.

Howard Zinn and the Politics of Popular History

The controversial historian drew criticism from both left and right. We need more like him today.
Group of freedmen and women posing for a picture.

How Could ‘Freedmen’ Be a Race-Neutral Term?

An opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas exposed the limits of originalism.
Painting called "Hudibras’ Discomfiture at the Hands of the Skimmington," by Francis Le Piper, seventeenth century.

American Charivari

The history and context of the made-up aesthetics of the early Ku Klux Klan.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

Grappling With the Overthrow of Reconstruction

Two new books ask us to shift our attention away from the white vigilantes of Jim Crow and instead focus on what it meant for the survivors.
Illustration of Abraham Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation.

Abraham Lincoln Is a Hero of the Left

Leftists have regarded Lincoln as a pro-labor hero who helped vanquish chattel slavery. We should celebrate him today within the radical democratic tradition.
Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court holding signs that read "People Over Politics."

A Post-Reconstruction Proposal That Would Have Restored Power to the People

Largely forgotten today, Albion W. Tourgée’s legislation could have prevented Moore v. Harper.