It is indeed worth considering what survived: Colleges, churches, and other civil institutions born in that utopian moment are still going strong. The 13 th Amendment’s ban on slavery was never seriously challenged. The 14 th Amendment—150 years young in 2018—is a cornerstone of modern politics. The Justice Department, formed to combat Southern white terrorism, would some 90 years later become the vehicle by which the “Second Reconstruction” was enforced, and ( Jeff Sessions notwithstanding ) it may yet be the vehicle to drag America out of its latest Redemption.
In a recent book review, Professor Steven Hahn of the University of Pennsylvania wrote of Eric Foner: "Like his mentor Richard Hofstadter, he has had an enormous influence on how other historians, as well as a good cut of the general reading public, have come to think about American history. This is the result of his voluminous scholarship and of his decades as a teacher. Indeed, when one considers the chronological and topical range of Foner's many books and essays--not to mention those of his doctoral students--only Hofstadter, C. Vann Woodward, David Brion Davis, and, in an earlier era, Charles Beard (who was also at Columbia) would seem to be his genuine rivals in impact and accomplishment." On a somewhat different note, the Oklahoma Gazette recently wrote of a lecture by Professor Foner at Oklahoma University, "suffice it to say that his giving a free lecture on OU's campus is just really, incredibly, super cool."