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The True Birthday of Modern America

March 02, 2023

At the Los Angeles Times, Prof. Kermit Roosevelt argues that March 2 is the true birthday of Modern America.

The following is an excerpt from “Why March 2 is the true birthday of Modern America,” an op-ed written by Kermit Roosevelt, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, for the Los Angeles Times.

From the Los Angeles Times:

March 2 is rarely celebrated as the birthday of our America — but it should be.

This was the day in 1867 when Congress overrode President Andrew Johnson’s veto of the first Reconstruction Act, which created a new republic by wiping out the governments of the Confederate states and putting them under military control.

The 1776 revolution created a new nation, certainly. But the America of 1776 or 1787 was what historians have called a slaveholders’ republic, with a Constitution that protected slavery and excluded Black people from national citizenship. Black Americans, women, and other groups had no protection from state discrimination, and even white men had almost no federal constitutional rights protecting them against their state governments… . 

Roosevelt is the author of The Nation that Never Was: Reconstructing America’s Story — an eye-opening reinterpretation of the American story.

He works in a diverse range of fields, focusing on constitutional law and conflict of laws and has published scholarly books and articles in both fields. Roosevelt is also the author of two novels, and, in 2014, he was selected by the American Law Institute as the Reporter for the Third Restatement of Conflict of Laws.

Read Roosevelt’s full piece at the Los Angeles Times.