Infinite Hope and Finite Disappointment details the hopes and promises of the 14th Amendment in the historical, legal and sociological context within which it was framed. Part of the Reconstruction Amendments collectively known as "The Second Founding," the 14th Amendment fundamentally altered the 1787 Constitution to protect individual right and altered the balance of power between the national government and the states. The work also shows how initial Supreme Court interpretations of the Amendment's reach hindered its applicability. Finally, the contributors investigate the current impact of the 14th Amendment. The book is divided into three parts: "Infinite Hope: The Framers as First Interpreters;" "Finite Disappointment: The Supreme Court as First Interpreter;" and "Never Losing Infinite Hope: The People as First Interpreters ."