In 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 slav
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Despite its venerated place atop American law and politics, our written Constitution does not enumerate all of the rules and rights, principles and procedures that actually govern modern America. The document makes no explicit mention of cherished concepts like the separation of powers and the rule of law. On some issues, the plain meaning of the text misleads. For example, the text seems to say that the vice president presides over his own impeachment trial -- but surely this cannot be right. As esteemed legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar explains in America's Unwritten Constitution, the solution to many constitutional puzzles lies not solely within the written document, but beyond it -- in the vast trove of values, precedents, and practices that complement and complete the terse text. In this sequel to America's Constitution: A Biography, Amar takes readers on a tour of our nation's unwritten Constitution, showing how America's foundational document cannot be understood in textual isolation. Proper constitutional interpretation depends on a variety of factors, such as the precedents set by early presidents and Congresses; common practices of modern American citizens; venerable judicial decisions; and particularly privileged sources of inspiration and guidance, including the Federalist papers, William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. These diverse supplements are indispensible instruments for making sense of the written Constitution. When used correctly, these extra-textual aids support and enrich the written document without supplanting it. An authoritative work by one of America's preeminent legal scholars, America's Unwritten Constitution presents a bold new vision of the American constitutional system, showing how the complementary relationship between the Constitution's written and unwritten components is one of America's greatest a
In Designing a Polity, James W. Ceaser, one of our leading scholars of American political development, argues for the continuing central role of the Founding within the study of American government. Drawing on essays published over the past 10 years, extensively updated and revised to reflect current politics, Ceaser engages the Founding Fathers, particularly James Madison, emphasizes Alexis de Tocqueville as a model of political inquiry, critiques current and recent theorists such as Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida, and explores the varieties of contemporary conservative thought. Designing a Polity offers a rich exploration of the core values of political sciences that will be of special interest to scholars and students of American political development, Constitutional thought, and contemporary political thought.
The landmark legal document of the United States, in a handsome, hardcover gift edition.
- Author : Geoffrey R. Stone
- Publisher : Liveright Publishing
- Release Date : 2017-03-21
- Genre : Law
- Pages : 704
- ISBN : 9781631493652
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection A “volume of lasting significance” that illuminates how the clash between sex and religion has defined our nation’s history (Lee C. Bollinger, president, Columbia University). Lauded for “bringing a bracing and much-needed dose of reality about the Founders’ views of sexuality” (New York Review of Books), Geoffrey R. Stone’s Sex and the Constitution traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have legislated sexual behavior from America’s earliest days to today’s fractious political climate. This “fascinating and maddening” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) narrative shows how agitators, moralists, and, especially, the justices of the Supreme Court have navigated issues as divisive as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and contraception. Overturning a raft of contemporary shibboleths, Stone reveals that at the time the Constitution was adopted there were no laws against obscenity or abortion before the midpoint of pregnancy. A pageant of historical characters, including Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Anthony Comstock, Margaret Sanger, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, enliven this “commanding synthesis of scholarship” (Publishers Weekly) that dramatically reveals how our laws about sex, religion, and morality reflect the cultural schisms that have cleaved our nation from its founding.
- Author : Reg. B. Two Stones
- Publisher : AuthorHouse
- Release Date : 2014-03-20
- Genre : Political Science
- Pages : 468
- ISBN : 9781491850459
This highly controversial book is going to change the political and cultural direction and scene of America in the 21st Century. It will do this by providing America’s Compatriots the tools they’ve been searching for to stop America’s Government, Supreme Court Judges, and Politicians from continuing to push this great Republic into the Abyss of a Borderless and lawless nation. By analyzing key words and the US Constitution, this book shows America’s Compatriots how to stop their Government from wresting power from the Republic (a Government who continues to misinterpret and misread key parts of the Constitution). And, unfortunately for the Republic, these misinterpretations are allowing Mexico’s (and other foreign nation’s) criminal citizens and colonizers to invade and occupy US sovereign soil, destroy America’s Western Christian Culture via “cultural genocide,” and allowing their American born (“not-legal”) children to claim unlawful citizenship. Unfortunately for Mexico’s colonizing invaders and these children, this book proves these lawless colonizers’ invasion, is not, any kind of immigration, so politicians are breaking Federal law to protect them. Chapter 1: This book tells readers why this book was written; Chapters 2 through 4 are this book’s heart. It introduces readers to key literary facts, definitions, and analysis of the Constitution, and key sections that prove America’s Government and politicians have betrayed the Republic’s Citizens. Finally, Chapter 5, and the 3 Appendixes sum up and complete the research. We feel, with these facts, Americans should be ready to save the Country that our Constitution’s drafters wrote was blessed and “ordained” by “God.” We hope they will be ready to fight these rogue politicians and judges, and to stop the “cultural genocide” of America’s Western Christian culture, English language, and US sovereignty.
In The Constitution: Understanding America s Founding Document, Michael S. Greve explains how to think seriously about the United States Constitution and constitutions in general. What are constitutions supposed to do, and what can they accomplish?"
Introduces students to the Constitution of the United States and the aura of crisis which surrounded the creation of the document.
The Bush Administration has notoriously argued that detainees at Guantanamo do not enjoy constitutional rights because they are held outside American borders. But where do rules about territorial legal limits such as this one come from? Why does geography make a difference for what legal rules apply? Most people intuitively understand that location affects constitutional rights, but the legal and political basis for territorial jurisdiction is poorly understood. In this novel and accessible treatment of territoriality in American law and foreign policy, Kal Raustiala begins by tracing the history of the subject from its origins in post-revolutionary America to the Indian wars and overseas imperialism of the 19th century. He then takes the reader through the Cold War and the globalization era before closing with a powerful explanation of America's attempt to increase its extraterritorial power in the post-9/11 world. As American power has grown, our understanding of extraterritorial legal rights has expanded too, and Raustiala illuminates why America's assumptions about sovereignty and territory have changed. Throughout, he focuses on how the legal limits of territorial sovereignty have diminished to accommodate the expanding American empire, and addresses how such limits ought to look in the wake of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror. A timely and engaging narrative, Does the Constitution Follow the Flag? will change how we think about American territory, American law, and-ultimately-the changing nature of American power.
Uncovering the roots of the U.S. Constitution The U.S. Constitution influences nearly every aspect of our lives. But for all the fierce disputes about what the Constitution means, the historical foundations of America’s legal and political institutions pass almost unnoticed today. This is a glaring oversight, one that clouds our understanding of the Constitution and American law and politics in general. For the Constitution did not spring up suddenly in 1787. The framers were influenced at every turn by a tradition of constitutional development dating back to ancient times. Political scientist and legal scholar Matthew A. Pauley fills in the blanks in our understanding by chronicling the three most important influences on the American constitutional experience: ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and England. Pauley’s masterful historical survey sheds new light on our system of representative democracy, our court structure, and our traditions of law—civil and criminal, public and private. No student of law or government can afford to ignore this highly readable, deeply informative work. Athens, Rome, and England adds immeasurably to our appreciation and understanding of the roots of the American Constitution and our legal and political system.
On the 25th day of May in the 1787, a group of America's founding father's walked up the steps of the steps of the State House in Philadelphia. They were enjoying the late-spring weather as the delegations from seven states arrived for the Federal Convention ... These great Americans decided to throw the book out the window and draft an entirely new form of government ... they worked through the summer to draft the most important document in United states history; the Constitution for the United States of America.
Latin American Constitutions provides a comprehensive historical study of constitutionalism in Latin America from the independence period to the present, focusing on the Constitution of Cádiz, a foundational document in Latin American constitutionalism. Although drafted in Spain, it was applied in many regions of Latin America, and deputies from America formed a significant part of the drafting body. The politicization of constitutionalism reflected in Latin America's first moments proved to be a lasting legacy evident in the legal and constitutional world of the region today: many of Latin America's present challenges to establishing effective constitutionalism can be traced to the debates, ideas, structures, and assumptions of this text. This book explores the region's attempts to create effective constitutional texts and regimes in light of an established practice of linking constitutions to political goals and places important constitutional thinkers and regional constitutions, such as the Mexican Constitution of 1917, into their legal and historical context.
Texas has created more constitutional law than any other state. In any classroom nationwide, any basic constitutional law course can be taught using nothing but Texas cases. That, however, understates the history and politics behind the cases. Beyond representing all doctrinal areas of constitutional law, Texas cases deal with the major issues of the nation. Leading legal scholar and Supreme Court historian Lucas A. Powe, Jr. charts the rich and pervasive development of Texas-inspired constitutional law. From voting rights to railroad regulations, or school finance to capital punishment, or poverty to civil liberties, this wide-ranging and eminently readable book provides a window into the relationship between constitutional litigation and ordinary politics at the Supreme Court, illuminating how all of the fiercest national divides over what the Constitution means took shape in Texas.
The still-unfolding story of America’s Constitution is a history of heroes and villains—the flawed visionaries who inspired and crafted liberty’s safeguards, and the shortsighted opportunists who defied them. Those stories are known by few today. In Our Lost Constitution, Senator Mike Lee tells the dramatic, little-known stories behind six of the Constitution’s most indispensible provisions. He shows their rise. He shows their fall. And he makes vividly clear how nearly every abuse of federal power today is rooted in neglect of this Lost Constitution. For example: • The Origination Clause says that all bills to raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives, but contempt for the clause ensured the passage of Obamacare. • The Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures, but the NSA now collects our private data without a warrant. • The Legislative Powers Clause means that only Congress can pass laws, but unelected agencies now produce ninety-nine out of every one hundred pages of legal rules imposed on the American people. Lee’s cast of characters includes a former Ku Klux Klansman, who hijacked the Establishment Clause to strangle Catholic schools; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who called the Second Amendment a fraud; and the revered president who began his first of four terms by threating to shatter the balance of power between Congress and the president, and who began his second term by vowing to do the same to the Supreme Court. Fortunately, the Constitution has always had its defenders. Senator Lee tells the story of how Andrew Jackson, noted for his courage in duels and politics, stood firm against the unconstitutional expansion of federal powers. He brings to life Ben Franklin’s genius for compromise at a deeply divided constitutional convention. And he tells how in 2008, a couple of unlikely challengers persuaded the Supreme Court to rediscover the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear
A history of the American Constitution's formative decades from a preeminent legal scholar When the US Constitution won popular approval in 1788, it was the culmination of thirty years of passionate argument over the nature of government. But ratification hardly ended the conversation. For the next half century, ordinary Americans and statesmen alike continued to wrestle with weighty questions in the halls of government and in the pages of newspapers. Should the nation's borders be expanded? Should America allow slavery to spread westward? What rights should Indian nations hold? What was the proper role of the judicial branch? In The Words that Made Us, Akhil Reed Amar unites history and law in a vivid narrative of the biggest constitutional questions early Americans confronted, and he expertly assesses the answers they offered. His account of the document's origins and consolidation is a guide for anyone seeking to properly understand America's Constitution today.
The author argues that certain aspects of the American Constitution are deeply flawed and detract from a purely democratic society and includes discussions on the electoral college, the Federalist Papers, and proportional representation.
Dworkin claims that Americans have been systematically misled about what their Constitution is and how judges interpret it. In discussions of constitutional cases and general constitutional principles, he argues that a distinctly American version of government based on a "moral" reading of the Constitution offers the best definition of democracy.
Don K. Price seeks the cause of the nation's inability to develop coherent policies and manage consistent programs and finds it in American attitudes toward authority. This country's managerial disarray can be traced to religious and philosophical roots of our informal system of government and its development. Price shows how a native American skepticism toward all establishments, combined with a belief in the role of science as advancing progress, has given us a moralistic, reformist view of government that rejects compromise even for the sake of coherence and continuity. This is unlike the experience of Great Britain and Canada, which he relates in a series of incisive comparisons.
From Kennebunkport to Kauai, from the Rio Grande to the Northern Rockies, ours is a vast republic. While we may be united under one Constitution, separate and distinct states remain, each with its own constitution and culture. Geographic idiosyncrasies add more than just local character. Regional understandings of law and justice have shaped and reshaped our nation throughout history. America's Constitution, our founding and unifying document, looks slightly different in California than it does in Kansas. In The Law of the Land, renowned legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar illustrates how geography, federalism, and regionalism have influenced some of the biggest questions in American constitutional law. Writing about Illinois, "the land of Lincoln," Amar shows how our sixteenth president's ideas about secession were influenced by his Midwestern upbringing and outlook. All of today's Supreme Court justices, Amar notes, learned their law in the Northeast, and New Yorkers of various sorts dominate the judiciary as never before. The curious Bush v. Gore decision, Amar insists, must be assessed with careful attention to Florida law and the Florida Constitution. The second amendment appears in a particularly interesting light, he argues, when viewed from the perspective of Rocky Mountain cowboys and cowgirls. Propelled by Amar's distinctively smart, lucid, and engaging prose, these essays allow general readers to see the historical roots of, and contemporary solutions to, many important constitutional questions. The Law of the Land illuminates our nation's history and politics, and shows how America's various local parts fit together to form a grand federal framework.