America's Constitution: A Biography by Akhil Reed AmarIn America's Constitution, one of this era's most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world's great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this "biography" of America's framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding "We the People" was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators' inspired genius. Despite the Constitution's flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America's Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why-for now, at least-only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation's history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document's later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders' Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the "three fifths" clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic's first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln's election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America's Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.
Publication Date: 2005
American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War by Christian G. FritzAmerican Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War challenges traditional American constitutional history, theory and jurisprudence that sees today's constitutionalism as linked by an unbroken chain to the 1787 Federal constitutional convention. American Sovereigns examines the idea that after the American Revolution, a collectivity - the people - would rule as the sovereign. Heated political controversies within the states and at the national level over what it meant that the people were the sovereign and how that collective sovereign could express its will were not resolved in 1776, in 1787, or prior to the Civil War. The idea of the people as the sovereign both unified and divided Americans in thinking about government and the basis of the Union. Today's constitutionalism is not a natural inheritance, but the product of choices Americans made between shifting understandings about themselves as a collective sovereign.
Binomials in the History of English: Fixed and Flexible by Joanna Kopaczyk (Editor); Hans Sauer (Editor)Binomials, such as for and against, dead or alive, to have and to hold, can be broadly defined as two words belonging to the same grammatical category and linked by a semantic relationship. They are an important phraseological phenomenon present throughout the history of the English language. This volume offers a range of studies on binomials, their types and functions from Old English through to the present day. Searching for motivations and characteristic features of binomials in a particular genre or writer, the chapters engage with many linguistic levels of analysis, such as phonology or semantics, and explore the important role of translation. Drawing on philological and corpus-linguistic approaches, the authors employ qualitative and quantitative methods, setting the discussion firmly in the extra-linguistic context. Binomials and their extended forms - multinomials - emerge from these discussions as an important phraseological tool, with rich applications and complex motivations.
Publication Date: 2017
Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the Making of America--Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln by Matthew S. HollandNotions of Christian love, or charity, strongly shaped the political thought of John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln as each presided over a foundational moment in the development of American democracy. Matthew Holland examines how each figure interpreted and appropriated charity, revealing both the problems and possibilities of making it a political ideal. Holland first looks at early American literature and seminal speeches by Winthrop to show how the Puritan theology of this famed 17th century governor of the Massachusetts Colony (he who first envisioned America as a "City upon a Hill") galvanized an impressive sense of self-rule and a community of care in the early republic, even as its harsher aspects made something like Jefferson's Enlightenment faith in liberal democracy a welcome development . Holland then shows that between Jefferson's early rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and his First Inaugural Jefferson came to see some notion of charity as a necessary complement to modern political liberty. However, Holland argues, it was Lincoln and his ingenious blend of Puritan and democratic insights who best fulfilled the promise of this nation's "bonds of affection." With his recognition of the imperfections of both North and South, his humility in the face of God's judgment on the Civil War, and his insistence on "charity for all," including the defeated Confederacy, Lincoln personified the possibilities of religious love turned civic virtue. Weaving a rich tapestry of insights from political science and literature and American religious history and political theory, Bonds of Affection is a major contribution to the study of American political identity. Matthew Holland makes plain that civic charity, while commonly rejected as irrelevant or even harmful to political engagement, has been integral to our national character. The book includes the full texts of Winthrop's speech "A Model of Christian Charity"; Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration and his First Inaugural; and Lincoln's Second Inaugural.
Publication Date: 2007
Church and State in America by James H. HutsonThis is an account of the ideas about and public policies relating to the relationship between government and religion from the settlement of Virginia in 1607 to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, 1829-37. This book describes the impact and the relationship of various events, legislative, and judicial actions, including the English Toleration Act of 1689, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists. Four principles were paramount in the American approach to government's relation to religion: the importance of religion to public welfare; the resulting desirability of government support of religion (within the limitations of political culture); liberty of conscience and voluntaryism; the requirement that religion be supported by free will offerings, not taxation. Hutson analyzes and describes the development and interplay of these principles, and considers the relevance of the concept of the separation of church and state during this period.
Publication Date: 2007
Collective Action under the Articles of Confederation by Keith L. DoughertyRather than focusing on why the states did not contribute to the national government under the Articles of Confederation, Collective Action under the Articles of Confederation asks why they, in fact, did - even when they should not have been expected to contribute. Why did states pay large portions of their requisitions to the federal government when problems of collective action and the lack of governmental incentives suggest that they should not have? Using original data on Continental troop movements and federal debt holdings within each state, in this 2001 book, Dougherty shows that states contributed to the national government when doing so produced local gains. Such a theory stands in stark contrast to the standard argument that patriotism and civic duty encouraged state cooperation. Material incentives and local interests bound the union together and explained the push for constitutional reform more than the common pursuit of mutual goals.
Publication Date: 2000
Constitutional Preambles: A Comparative Analysis by Wim Voermans; Maarten Stremler; Paul CliteurWhile their use and significance have increased in recent decades, constitutional preambles have received only scant attention in academic literature. This presents a uniquely quantitative and qualitative analysis of all the preambles currently in force around the world and addresses fascinating questions concerning their occurrence, content, style, function and legal status. Studying preambles not only helps us understand the phenomenon itself, but also teaches us more about constitutions and the constitutional systems in which they are situated.Constitutional Preambles illuminates the great variety that constitutional preambles display. The authors discuss the different styles, legal and non-legal functions, and content of the preambles, as well as their use in the courts. This work also contains a carefully curated anthology of the world's preambles in English.
Publication Date: 2017
Constitutions of the World by Robert L. MaddexFrom Algeria to Zimbabwe, Constitutions of the World is a guide to the constitutions and constitutional histories of eighty nations. It will prove an invaluable resource for any teacher or student interested in politics, law, human rights or the political history of nations across the world. Strucured alphabetically each chapter profiles one country in an easy-to-use format. For every country a wealth of information is to be found.
Publication Date: 1997
Democracy's Guardians: A History of the German Federal Constitutional Court 1951-2001 by Justin CollingsIn its six-decade history, the German Federal Constitutional Court has become one of the most powerful and influential constitutional tribunals in the world. It has played a central role in the establishment of liberalism, democracy, and the rule of law in post-war West Germany, and it hasbeen a model for constitutional tribunals in many other nations. The Court stands virtually unchallenged as the most trusted institution of the German state. Written as a complete history of the German Federal Constitutional Court from its founding in 1951 up into the twenty-first century, this bookexplores how the court became so powerful, and why so few can resist its strength.Founded in 1951, the Court took root in a pre-democratic political culture. The Court's earliest contributions were to help establish liberal values and fundamental rights protection in the young Federal Republic. The early Court also helped democratize West German politics by reinforcing rights ofspeech and information, affirming the legitimacy of parliamentary opposition, and checking executive power. In time, as democratic values took hold in the country at large, the Court's early role in nurturing liberalism and democracy led many West Germans to view the Court not as a constraint ondemocracy, but as a bulwark of democracy's preconditions. In later decades, the Court played a stabilizing role - mediating political conflicts and integrating societal forces. Citizens disenchanted with partisan politics looked to the Court as a guardian of enduring values and a source of morallegitimacy.Through a comprehensive narrative of the Court's remarkable rise and careful analysis of its periodic crises, the work carefully dissects the success of the Court, presenting not only a traditional work of legal history, but a public history - both political and societal - as well as a doctrinal andjurisprudential account. Structured around the Court's major decisions from 1951 to 2001, the book examines popular and political reactions to those decisions, drawing heavily on newspaper accounts of major judgments and material from the archives of individual politicians and judges. The result isan impressive case study of the global phenomenon of constitutional justice.
Publication Date: 2015
Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties by Paul Finkelman (Editor)This Encyclopediaon American history and law is the first devoted to examining the issues of civil liberties and their relevance to major current events while providing a historical context and a philosophical discussion of the evolution of civil liberties. Coverage includes the traditional civil liberties: freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition. In addition, it also covers concerns such as privacy, the rights of the accused, and national security. Alphabetically organized for ease of access, the articles range in length from 250 words for a brief biography to 5,000 words for in-depth analyses. Entries are organized around the following themes: organizations and government bodies legislation and legislative action, statutes, and acts historical overviews biographies cases themes, issues, concepts, and events. The Encyclopedia of American Civil Libertiesis an essential reference for students and researchers as well as for the general reader to help better understand the world we live in today. , concepts, and events. The Encyclopedia of American Civil Libertiesis an essential reference for students and researchers as well as for the general reader to help better understand the world we live in today.
Publication Date: 2006
Forgotten Features of the Founding: The Recovery of Religious Themes in the Early American Republic by James H. HutsonForgotten Features of the Founding: The Recovery of Religious Themes in the Early American Republic is a book of six original essays that explore the deep significance of previously neglected religious themes in the Founding Era. Author James Hutson argues convincingly that without understanding these themes, it is impossible to comprehend the religious mentality of the Founding Era. Among the themes elucidated and explored are the doctrine of the future state of rewards and punishments, the civil magistrate's idealized role as the nursing father, and the conception of rights as moral powers grounded in religion. Hutson's thought-provoking and exhaustively researched essays challenge current scholarship on the Founding Era, which often downplays the importance of Christian ideals in the formation of the American government. Forgotten Features of the Founding is a must read for scholars of American history and those interested in the role of religion in American life.
Publication Date: 2003
For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights by Akhil Reed Amar; Alan R. Hirsch"We the People" have forgotten many of our constitutional rights, or we have allowed government officials to interpret them for us -- even when they are wrong. It is time to reclaim our Constitution. Did you know that: -- The Supreme Court is not the ultimate authority for constitutional interpretation. It is subservient to the People, who can amend the Constitution through a kind of national referendum. -- In certain cases juries may decide for themselves how to interpret the Constitution rather than follow judges' opinions. -- The Framers intended for us to be able to protect ourselves from the federal government. We the People have awesome responsibilities. If the Constitution really is to be an instrument of the People, as intended, it is imperative that we all understand this great document. Read this book and keep it (and its copy of the Constitution) on your shelf. We all owe ourselves, and our fellow citizens, an education in our constitutional rights and responsibilities.
Publication Date: 1999
The Founders on Religion: A Book of Quotations by James H. Hutson (Editor, Introduction by)What did the founders of America think about religion? Until now, there has been no reliable and impartial compendium of the founders' own remarks on religious matters that clearly answers the question. This book fills that gap. A lively collection of quotations on everything from the relationship between church and state to the status of women, it is the most comprehensive and trustworthy resource available on this timely topic. The book calls to the witness stand all the usual suspects--George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams--as well as many lesser known but highly influential luminaries, among them Continental Congress President Elias Boudinot, Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll, and John Dickinson, "the Pennsylvania Farmer." It also gives voice to two founding "mothers," Abigail Adams and Martha Washington. The founders quoted here ranged from the piously evangelical to the steadfastly unorthodox. Some were such avid students of theology that they were treated as equals by the leading ministers of their day. Others vacillated in their conviction. James Madison's religious beliefs appeared to weaken as he grew older. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, seemed to warm to religion late in life. This compilation lays out the founders' positions on more than seventy topics, including the afterlife, the death of loved ones, divorce, the raising of children, the reliability of biblical texts, and the nature of Islam and Judaism. Partisans of various stripes have long invoked quotations from the founding fathers to lend credence to their own views on religion and politics. This book, by contrast, is the first of its genre to be grounded in the careful examination of original documents by a professional historian. Conveniently arranged alphabetically by topic, it provides multiple viewpoints and accurate quotations. Readers of all religious persuasions--or of none--will find this book engrossing.
Publication Date: 2005
A History of American Law by Lawrence M. FriedmanIn this brilliant and immensely readable book, Lawrence M. Friedman tells the whole fascinating story of American law from its beginnings in the colonies to the present day. By showing how close the life of the law is to the economic and political life of the country, he makes a complex subject understandable and engrossing. A History of American Law presents the achievements and failures of the American legal system in the context of America's commercial and working world, family practices, and attitudes toward property, government, crime, and justice. Now completely revised and updated, this groundbreaking work incorporates new material regarding slavery, criminal justice, and twentieth-century law. For laymen and students alike, this remains the only comprehensive authoritative history of American law.
The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation's Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles UngerIn this lively and compelling biography Harlow Giles Unger reveals the dominant political figure of a generation. A fierce fighter in four critical Revolutionary War battles and a courageous survivor of Valley Forge and a near-fatal wound at the Battle of Trenton, James Monroe (1751-1831) went on to become America's first full-time politician, dedicating his life to securing America's national and international durability. Decorated by George Washington for his exploits as a soldier, Monroe became a congressman, a senator, U.S. minister to France and Britain, governor of Virginia, secretary of state, secretary of war, and finally America's fifth president. The country embraced Monroe's dreams of empire and elected him to two terms, the second time unanimously. Mentored by each of America's first four presidents, Monroe was unquestionably the best prepared president in our history. Like David McCullough'sJohn Adams and Jon Meacham's recent book on Andrew Jackson, this new biography of Monroe is both a solid read and stellar scholarship--history in the grand tradition.
Plato: The Laws by Plató; Trevor J. Saunders (Introduction by, Translator)In the Laws, Plato describes in fascinating detail a comprehensive system of legislation in a small agricultural utopia he named Magnesia. His laws not only govern crime and punishment, but also form a code of conduct for all aspects of life in his ideal state from education, sport and religion to sexual behaviour, marriage and drinking parties. Plato sets out a plan for the day-to-day rule of Magnesia, administered by citizens and elected officials, with supreme power held by a Council. Although Plato's views that citizens should act in complete obedience to the law have been read as totalitarian, the Laws nonetheless constitutes a highly impressive programme for the reform of society and provides a crucial insight into the mind of one of Classical Greece's foremost thinkers.
Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts by Antonin Scalia; Bryan A. GarnerIn this groundbreaking book, Scalia and Garner systematically explain all the most important principles of constitutional, statutory, and contractual interpretation in an engaging and informative style with hundreds of illustrations from actual cases. Is a burrito a sandwich? Is a corporation entitled to personal privacy? If you trade a gun for drugs, are you using a gun in a drug transaction? The authors grapple with these and dozens of equally curious questions while explaining the most principled, lucid, and reliable techniques for deriving meaning from authoritative texts. Meanwhile, the book takes up some of the most controversial issues in modern jurisprudence. What, exactly, is textualism? Why is strict construction a bad thing? What is the true doctrine of originalism? And which is more important: the spirit of the law, or the letter? The authors write with a well-argued point of view that is definitive yet nuanced, straightforward yet sophisticated.
Religion and American Politics by Mark A. Noll (Editor); Luke E. Harlow (Editor)How do religion and politics interact in America? How has that relationship changed over time? Why have American religious and political thought sometimes developed along a parallell course while at other times they have moved in opposite directions? These are among the many important and fascinating questions addressed in this volume. Originally published in 1990 as Religion and American Politics: From The Colonial Period to the 1980s (4921 paperback copies sold), this book offers the first comprehensive survey of the relationship between religion and politics in America. It features a stellar lineup of scholars, including Richard Carwardine, Nathan Hatch, Daniel Walker Howe, George Marsden, Martin Marty, Harry Stout, John Wilson, Robert Wuthnow, and Bertram Wyatt-Brown. Since its publication, the influence of religion on American politics--and, therefore, interest in the topic--has grown exponentially. For this new edition, Mark Noll and new co-editor Luke Harlow offer a completely new introduction, and also commission several new pieces and eliminate several that are now out of date. The resulting book offers a historically-grounded approach to one of the most divisive issues of our time, and serves a wide variety of courses in religious studies, history, and politics.
Publication Date: 2007
Religion and the Founding of the American Republic by James H. HutsonIn a clear and original treatment of a controversial topic, historian James H. Hutson describes the rise of organized religion in America and its interaction with government from the arrival of Protestant and Catholic groups in New England and the middle Colonies in the early 17th century to the establishment of new religious groups in the early decades of the 19th century. By interpreting the Puritans' arrival in New England in the context of European religious persecution, he lays the groundwork for his examination of the evolving relationship between church and state in America. The history of Rhode Island Baptists and Pennsylvania Quakers prefigured the principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state laid down in the founding documents of the US. Hutson describes the founding of the federal and state governments and the founders' attitudes toward religion's role in government. Hutson's own expertise and the Library of Congress's rich documentation of this period give particular weight and interest to this period.
Taking the Constitution Away from the Courts by Mark V. TushnetHere a leading scholar in constitutional law, Mark Tushnet, challenges hallowed American traditions of judicial review and judicial supremacy, which allow U.S. judges to invalidate "unconstitutional" governmental actions. Many people, particularly liberals, have "warm and fuzzy" feelings about judicial review. They are nervous about what might happen to unprotected constitutional provisions in the chaotic worlds of practical politics and everyday life. By examining a wide range of situations involving constitutional rights, Tushnet vigorously encourages us all to take responsibility for protecting our liberties. Guarding them is not the preserve of judges, he maintains, but a commitment of the citizenry to define itself as "We the People of the United States." The Constitution belongs to us collectively, as we act in political dialogue with each other--whether in the street, in the voting booth, or in the legislature as representatives of others. Tushnet urges that we create a "populist" constitutional law in which judicial declarations deserve no special consideration. But he warns that in so doing we must pursue reasonable interpretations of the "thin Constitution"--the fundamental American principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution. A populist Constitution, he maintains, will be more effective than a document exclusively protected by the courts. Tushnet believes, for example, that the serious problems of the communist scare of the 1950s were aggravated when Senator Joseph McCarthy's opponents were lulled into inaction, believing that the judicial branch would step in and declare McCarthy's actions unconstitutional. Instead of fulfilling the expectations, the Court allowed McCarthy to continue his crusade until it was ended. Tushnet points out that in this context and in many others, errors occurred because of the existence of judicial review: neither the People nor their representatives felt empowered to enforce the Constitution because they mistakenly counted on the courts to do so. Tushnet's clarion call for a new kind of constitutional law will be essential reading for constitutional law experts, political scientists, and others interested in how and if the freedoms of the American Republic can survive into the twenty-first century.
Publication Date: 1999
Taking the Constitution Seriously by Walter BernsThe seven formidable essays that make up this new analysis explore the Constitution and its central place in the development of the first nation to be built on the foundation of the rights of man. Of particular interest is Berns's view of minorities under the Constitution. Overall, the book will be well received by serious students of the American political experience, but others might find it difficult going.