American Constitutional Law: The Structure of GovernmentAmerican Constitutional Law provides a comprehensive account of the nations defining document. Based on the premise that the study of the Constitution and constitutional law is of fundamental importance to understanding the principles, prospects, and problems of America, this text puts current events in terms of what those who initially drafted and ratified the Constitution sought to accomplish.
American Federalism: A Concise IntroductionUnderstanding federalism is central to the study of democratic government in the United States. This book examines the historical and philosophical underpinnings of federalism; and the ways in which institutional political power is both diffused and concentrated in the United States.
A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its AmendmentsA commentary on the US Constitution and its amendments, covering its development from the Founding Fathers to President Clinton's Impeachment Trial. It reflects on issues such as gay marriages, the Violence Against Women Act, and the balanced budget amendment.
The Constitution: An IntroductionFrom war powers to health care, freedom of speech to gun ownership, religious liberty to abortion, practically every aspect of American life is shaped by the Constitution. This vital document, along with its history of political and judicial interpretation, governs our individual lives and the life of our nation. Yet most of us know surprisingly little about the Constitution itself, and are woefully unprepared to think for ourselves about recent developments in its long and storied history. The Constitution: An Introduction is the definitive modern primer on the US Constitution. Michael Stokes Paulsen, one of the nation's most provocative and accomplished scholars of the Constitution, and his son Luke Paulsen, a gifted young writer and lay scholar, have combined to write a lively introduction to the supreme law of the United States, covering the Constitution's history and meaning in clear, accessible terms. Beginning with the Constitution's birth in 1787, Paulsen and Paulsen offer a grand tour of its provisions, principles, and interpretation, introducing readers to the characters and controversies that have shaped the Constitution in the 200-plus years since its creation. Along the way, the authors provide correctives to the shallow myths and partial truths that pervade so much popular treatment of the Constitution, from school textbooks to media accounts of today's controversies, and offer powerful insights into the Constitution's true meaning. A lucid and engaging guide, The Constitution: An Introduction provides readers with the tools to think critically and independently about constitutional issues--a skill that is ever more essential to the continued flourishing of American democracy.
Constitutional AmendmentsProvides the history and social context of the amendment process, covering each of the 27 amendments. Significant issues, events, figures, movements and judicial/legislative actions in the history of each amendment are also covered chronologically.
The Constitution in Congress: The Federalist Period 1789-1801In the most thorough examination to date, David P. Currie analyzes from a legal perspective the work of the first six congresses and of the executive branch during the Federalist era, with a view to its significance for constitutional interpretation. He concludes that the original understanding of the Constitution was forged not so much in the courts as in the legislative and executive branches, an argument of crucial importance for scholars in constitutional law, history, and government.
Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United StatesThis new 5-volume MacMillan set focuses on the substance of American law, the processes that produce its legal principles, and the history of the Supreme Court, from its creation to the present. One of the encyclopedia's distinguishing themes is the examination of case law, the essential texts that form the backbone of legal and pre-legal study in the United States. Overview essays address the history of such topics as citizenship, due process, Native Americans, racism, and contraception, emphasizing the social context of each and the social and political pressures that shaped interpretation. This approach plays directly into the cutting-edge field known as the law and social issues movement, which studies political and non-judicial history, and advocates a law outside the courts approach. Almost 1,100 peer-reviewed articles cover concepts, cases, topics, personalities, institutions, events, and processes. Written in accessible language and supplemented with a glossary, thematic outline, historical documents, illustrations, and indexes this title provides context and ease-of-use to law and pre-law students, professors, legal professionals and general users.
The Founding Fathers V. the People: Paradoxes of American DemocracyAs pundits and politicians remind us at every election cycle or turn of the television dial, the United States sees itself as the world's greatest democracy. But what citizens might also hear, if they knew how to listen, is the grinding of two tectonic plates on which this democracy was established. In the venerable tradition of keen foreign observers of American politics, Anthony King exposes the political paradoxes in our system that we may well be too close to see--founding principles of our great democracy that are distinctly undemocratic. In an extended essay eloquent in its plainspoken good sense, King begins, on the one hand, with the founding fathers who emphasized moderation, deliberation, checks and balances, and the separation of powers--a system in which "the people" were allowed to play only a limited role. On the other hand were radical democrats who insisted that the people, and only the people, should rule. The result was a political system tangled up in conflicts that persist to this day: unelected and unaccountable Supreme Court justices who exercise enormous personal power; severe restrictions on the kind of person the people can elect as president; popular referendums at the state and local level but none at the federal level, not even to ratify amendments to the Constitution. In King's provocative analysis, we see how these puzzles play out in the turmoil of our nation's public life and political culture--and we glimpse, perhaps, a new way to address them.
Inherent Rights, the Written Constitution, and Popular SovereigntyIn recent decades the Ninth Amendment, a provision designed to clarify that the federal government was to be one of enumerated and limited powers, has been turned into an unenumerated rights clause that effectively grants unlimited power to the judiciary. Was this the intent of the framers of the Constitution? McAffee argues that the founders had a rather different set of priorities than ours, and that the goal of enforcing fundamental human rights was not why they drafted any of the first ten amendments. They did not intend to grant to the courts the power to generate fundamental rights, whether by reference to custom or history, reason or natural law, or societal values or consensus. It has become increasingly popular to identify our constitutional order as an experiment in the protection of fundamental human rights and to forget that it is also an experiment in self-government. As fundamental as the founding generation believed basic rights to be, they saw popular authority to make decisions about government as being even more central to the project in which they were engaged. They supported natural law and rights, but they felt strongly that those rights did not bind the people or their government unless they were inserted in the written Constitution. They did not contemplate that there would be unwritten limitations on the powers granted to government.
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the ConstitutionThomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," were two of the most important Founders of the United States as well as the closest of political allies. Yet historians have often seen a tension between the idealistic rhetoric of the Declaration and the more pedestrian language of the Constitution. Moreover, to some, the adoption of the Constitution represented a repudiation of the democratic values of the Revolution. In this book, Jeff Broadwater explores the evolution of the constitutional thought of these two seminal American figures, from the beginning of the American Revolution through the adoption of the Bill of Rights. In explaining how the two political compatriots could have produced such seemingly dissimilar documents but then come to a common constitutional ground, Broadwater reveals how their collaboration--and their disagreements--influenced the full range of constitutional questions during this early period of the American republic.
Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the WorldAside from the Constitution itself, there is no more important document in American politics and law than the Federalist Papers--the series of pamphlets written by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to explain the meaning of the proposed Constitution to the American people and persuade them of its importance. These papers provide a window into the framers' thoughts on the most divisive issues of American government--the powers of the President, the dividing line between Congress's authority and that of the states, the role of the Supreme Court, and the importance of the Bill of Rights. Liberty's Blueprint offers an essential introduction to how the Federalist Papers were written, the philosophical thinking that shaped the Constitution, how the framers meant the various clauses to be understood, and why they are still vitally important today.
The Limits of Constitutional DemocracyConstitutional democracy is at once a flourishing idea filled with optimism and promise--and an enterprise fraught with limitations. Uncovering the reasons for this ambivalence, this book looks at the difficulties of constitutional democracy, and reexamines fundamental questions: What is constitutional democracy? When does it succeed or fail? Can constitutional democracies conduct war? Can they preserve their values and institutions while addressing new forms of global interdependence? The authors gathered here interrogate constitutional democracy's meaning in order to illuminate its future. The book examines key themes--the issues of constitutional failure; the problem of emergency power and whether constitutions should be suspended when emergencies arise; the dilemmas faced when constitutions provide and restrict executive power during wartime; and whether constitutions can adapt to such globalization challenges as immigration, religious resurgence, and nuclear arms proliferation.
Our Federalist Constitution: The Founders' Expectations and Contemporary American GovernmentThe debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution has much to tell us about American politics. Using predictions made by Federalists and Anti-Federalists during that debate, Faber examines contemporary American politics. The Federalists explained how the various branches of government would work together to govern while preventing tyranny; the Anti-Federalists told us how things would fall apart and why. Through a careful examination of the two houses of Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, Faber evaluates the state of each in light of the predictions of the founders. He discusses the condition of the national-state relationship using predictions about federalism and consolidation from the ratification debate. Ultimately, although history has not turned out as the Federalists expected, their political system is working largely as they intended.
Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of LibertyThe U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost. Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people. As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond. This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.
The Upside-Down ConstitutionOver the course of the nation's history, the Constitution has been turned upside-down, Michael Greve argues in this provocative book. The Constitution's vision of a federalism in which local, state, and federal government compete to satisfy the preferences of individuals has given way to a cooperative, cartelized federalism that enables interest groups to leverage power at every level for their own benefit. Greve traces this inversion from the Constitution's founding through today, dispelling much received wisdom along the way. The Upside-Down Constitution shows how federalism's transformation was a response to states' demands, not an imposition on them. From the nineteenth-century judicial elaboration of a competitive federal order, to the New Deal transformation, to the contemporary Supreme Court's impoverished understanding of constitutional structure, and the "devolution" in vogue today, Greve describes a trend that will lead to more government and fiscal profligacy, not less. Taking aim at both the progressive heirs of the New Deal and the vocal originalists of our own time, The Upside-Down Constitution explains why the current fiscal crisis will soon compel a fundamental renegotiation of a new federalism grounded in constitutional principles.
Which Rights Should Be Universal?"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." So begins the U.S. Declaration of Independence. What follows those words is a ringing endorsement of universal rights, but it is far from self-evident. Why did the authors claim that it was? William Talbott suggests that they were trapped by a presupposition of Enlightenment philosophy: That there was only one way to rationally justify universal truths, by proving them from self-evident premises. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the authors of the U.S. Declaration had no infallible source of moral truth. For example, many of the authors of the Declaration of Independence endorsed slavery. The wrongness of slavery was not self-evident; it was a moral discovery. In this book, William Talbott builds on the work of John Rawls, Jurgen Habermas, J.S. Mill, Amartya Sen, and Henry Shue to explain how, over the course of history, human beings have learned how to adopt a distinctively moral point of view from which it is possible to make universal, though not infallible, judgments of right and wrong. He explains how this distinctively moral point of view has led to the discovery of the moral importance of nine basic rights. Undoubtedly, the most controversial issue raised by the claim of universal rights is the issue of moral relativism. How can the advocate of universal rights avoid being a moral imperialist? In this book, Talbott shows how to defend basic individual rights from a universal moral point of view that is neither imperialistic nor relativistic. Talbott avoids moral imperialism by insisting that all of us, himself included, have moral blind spots and that we usually depend on others to help us to identify those blindspots. Talbott's book speaks to not only debates on human rights but to broader issues of moral and cultural relativism, and will interest a broad range of readers.
The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in ActionThe Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action examines the events surrounding the development of the U.S. Constitution. Setting these events within the context of the colonial conflict with Britain and the experience with state constitutions under the Articles of Confederation, John R. Vile discusses the delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the major plans and proposals that delegates offered, and the arguments that delegates made both in the Convention and in subsequent state ratifying debates that ultimately led to the adoption of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Vile contends that the Convention and subsequent ratifying conventions were not mere exercises in political theory but practical attempts to formulate a workable government that all the states would ratify. Focusing chiefly on records of debates at the Convention, the book is a legal brief, identifying key facts, issues, arguments, and compromises, and providing a unique window into the contestation surrounding this keystone American political moment. This book is perfect for scholars and students in the field of American political history and development.
The Bible, the School, and the Constitution: The Clash That Shaped Modern Church-State DoctrineFew constitutional issues have been as contentious in modern times as those concerning school prayer and the public funding of religious schools. But as Steven K. Green reveals in The Bible, the School, and the Constitution, this debate actually reached its apogee just after the Civil War, between 1863 and 1876. Green shows that controversy over Bible reading in public schools, commonly called "the School Question," captured national attention to an unprecedented degree. Public education during the nineteenth century faced many competing pressures, including a widespread belief that schooling required a moral if not religious basis, a belief among many Protestants that Catholic immigration presented a threat to Protestant culture and to republican values, the need to accommodate increasing religious pluralism in the schools, and evolving understandings of constitutional principles.
Creating the Constitution: The Convention of 1787 and the First CongressCreating the Constitution presents a different interpretation of the Convention and the First Congress, derived largely from a close reading of Farrand's Records and the Annals of Congress. Among its special features are a critical perspective on the Framers, an examination of Court Whig influence on the Federalists, the identification of a third group-the state Federalists-between the nationalists and states' righters, and a view of the First Congress as distorting the aims of the Convention.
Defining Documents in American History: The ConstitutionThis volume analyzes the sections of the Constitution itself, and its amendments, as well as other documents that have played a significant role in its creation and adherence. The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1788 and came into force the following year. As the supreme law of the country, it delineates the nation's frame of government and was originally comprised of seven articles. The first three articles put forth the separation of powers (three branches of government), the next three embody the concepts of federalism (rights and responsibilities of the states in relationship to the federal government), and the last article established the procedure used by the then 13 states to ratify it. It has been amended 27 times to meet the needs of a nation that has undergone profound change. The first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and deal with individual liberty. The majority of the remaining 17 amendments expand individual civil rights, with some relating to federal authority. The Constitution has remained in force for over two centuries due to the way the framers separated and balanced governmental powers. It is interpreted, supplemented, and implemented by a large body of federal constitutional law, and has influenced the constitutions of other nations.
Designing a Polity: America's Constitution in Theory and PracticeA secret spiritual group. A recurring dream. A 400-year-old ritual must be completed before it is too late. Jane Frey inherits a Gothic mansion filled with unexpected treasures. A prophecy claims it hides an important artifact - the key to an energy grid laid down by the Founding Fathers themselves. Whoever controls this grid controls the very centers of world power. Except Jane has no idea what they're looking for.
The Framers' Coup: The Making of the United States ConstitutionAmericans revere their Constitution. However, most of us are unaware how tumultuous and improbable the drafting and ratification processes were. As Benjamin Franklin keenly observed, any assembly of men bring with them "all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views." One need not deny that the Framers had good intentions in order to believe that they also had interests. Based on prodigious research and told largely through the voices of the participants, Michael Klarman's The Framers' Coup narrates how the Framers' clashing interests shaped the Constitution - and American history itself. The Philadelphia convention could easily have been a failure, and the risk of collapse was always present. Had the convention dissolved, any number of adverse outcomes could have resulted, including civil war or a reversion to monarchy. Not only does Klarman capture the knife's-edge atmosphere of the convention, he populates his narrative with riveting and colorful stories: the rebellion of debtor farmers in Massachusetts; George Washington's uncertainty about whether to attend; Gunning Bedford's threat to turn to a European prince if the small states were denied equal representation in the Senate; slave staters' threats to take their marbles and go home if denied representation for their slaves; Hamilton's quasi-monarchist speech to the convention; and Patrick Henry's herculean efforts to defeat the Constitution in Virginia through demagoguery and conspiracy theories. The Framers' Coup is more than a compendium of great stories, however, and the powerful arguments that feature throughout will reshape our understanding of the nation's founding. Simply put, the Constitutional Convention almost didn't happen, and once it happened, it almost failed. And, even after the convention succeeded, the Constitution it produced almost failed to be ratified. Just as importantly, the Constitution was hardly the product of philosophical reflections by brilliant, disinterested statesmen, but rather ordinary interest group politics. Multiple conflicting interests had a say, from creditors and debtors to city dwellers and backwoodsmen. The upper class overwhelmingly supported the Constitution; many working class colonists were more dubious. Slave states and non-slave states had different perspectives on how well the Constitution served their interests. Ultimately, both the Constitution's content and its ratification process raise troubling questions about democratic legitimacy. The Federalists were eager to avoid full-fledged democratic deliberation over the Constitution, and the document that was ratified was stacked in favor of their preferences. And in terms of substance, the Constitution was a significant departure from the more democratic state constitutions of the 1770s. Definitive and authoritative, The Framers' Coup explains why the Framers preferred such a constitution and how they managed to persuade the country to adopt it. We have lived with the consequences, both positive and negative, ever since.
The Living ConstitutionSupreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once remarked that the theory of an evolving, "living" Constitution effectively "rendered the Constitution useless." He wanted a "dead Constitution," he joked, arguing it must be interpreted as the framers originally understood it. In The Living Constitution, leading constitutional scholar David Strauss forcefully argues against the claims of Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Robert Bork, and other "originalists," explaining in clear, jargon-free English how the Constitution can sensibly evolve, without falling into the anything-goes flexibility caricatured by opponents. The living Constitution is not an out-of-touch liberal theory, Strauss further shows, but a mainstream tradition of American jurisprudence--a common-law approach to the Constitution, rooted in the written document but also based on precedent.
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789In The Quartet, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis tells the unexpected story of America's second great founding and of the men most responsible--Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Jay, and James Madison: why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew. These men, with the help of Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force the calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement, created the new republic. Ellis gives us a dramatic portrait of one of the most crucial and misconstrued periods in American history: the years between the end of the Revolution and the formation of the federal government. The Quartet unmasks a myth, and in its place presents an even more compelling truth--one that lies at the heart of understanding the creation of the United States of America.
The Revolutionary ConstitutionThe framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation. In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale.
The U. S. Constitution: A Very Short IntroductionThough the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788, its impact on our lives is as recent as today's news. Claims and counterclaims about the constitutionality of governmental actions are a habit of American politics. This document, which its framers designed to limit power, often has made political conflict inevitable. It also has accommodated and legitimized the political and social changes of a vibrant, powerful democratic nation. A product of history's first modern revolution, the Constitution embraced a new formula for government: it restrained power on behalf of liberty, but it also granted power to promote and protect liberty. The U.S. Constitution: A Very Short Introduction explores the major themes that have shaped American constitutional history: federalism, the balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. Informed by the latest scholarship, this book places constitutional history within the context of American political and social history. As our nation's circumstances have changed, so has our Constitution. Today we face serious challenges to the nation's constitutional legacy. Endless wars, a sharply divided electorate, economic inequality, and immigration, along with a host of other issues, have placed demands on government and on society that test our constitutional values. Understanding how the Constitution has evolved will help us adapt its principles to the challenges of our age.