Original Intent and the Framers Constitution

Author: Leonard W. Levy
Publisher: Ivan R. Dee
ISBN: 1461730287
Format: PDF
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For more than two hundred years a debate has raged between those who believe that jurists should follow the original intentions of the Founding Fathers and those who argue that the Constitution is a living document subject to interpretation by each succeeding generation. The controversy has flared anew in our own time as a facet of the battle between conservatives and liberals. In Original Intent and the Framers' Constitution, the distinguished constitutional scholar Leonard Levy cuts through the Gordian Knot of claim and counterclaim with an argument that is clear, logical, and compelling. Rejecting the views of both left and right, he evaluates the doctrine of "original intent" by examining the sources of constitutional law and landmark cases. Finally, he finds no evidence for grounding the law in original intent. Judicial activism—the constant reinterpretation of the Constitution—he sees as inevitable.

Original Intent and the Constitution

Author: Gregory Bassham
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN:
Format: PDF
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'Writing with admirable lucidity and disposing a wide knowledge of technical questions in philosophy as well as of legal theory and constitutional history, Bassham competently distinguishes the quite distinct ideas that go, or could go, under the name of originalism.' -s CANADIAN PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEWS

Negotiating the Constitution

Author: Joseph M. Lynch
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 1501728334
Format: PDF, ePub
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No concept sparks more controversy in constitutional debate than "original intent." Offering a legal historian's approach to the subject, this book demonstrates that the framers deliberately obscured one of their more important decisions. Joseph M. Lynch argues that the Constitution was a product of political struggles involving regional interests, economic concerns, and ideology. The framers, he maintains, settled on enigmatic wording of the Necessary and Proper Clause and of the General Welfare provision in the Spending Clause as a compromise, leaving the extent of federal power to be determined by the political process. During ratification, however, attempts by dissident framers to undo the compromise were repelled in The Federalist: charges of overly broad congressional powers were met with protestations that in fact these powers were limited. Lynch describes how early lawmakers applied the Constitution to such issues as executive power and privilege, the deportation of aliens, and the prohibition of seditious speech. He follows the disputes over the interpretation of this document—focusing on James Madison's changing views—as the new government took shape and political parties were formed. Lynch points out that the first six Congresses and President George Washington disregarded the framers' intentions when they were deemed impractical to follow. In contrast, he warns that the version of original intent put forth in recent Supreme Court opinions regarding congressional power could hinder Congress in serving the nation.

The Age of Independence

Author: Michael J. Rosenfeld
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674024977
Format: PDF
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Michael Rosenfeld offers a new theory of family dynamics to account for the interesting and startling changes in marriage and family composition in the United States in recent years. His argument revolves around the independent life stage that emerged around 1960. This stage is experienced by young adults after they leave their parents' homes but before they settle down to start their own families. During this time, young men and women go away to college, travel abroad, begin careers, and enjoy social independence. This independent life stage has reduced parental control over the dating practices and mate selection of their children and has resulted in a sharp rise in interracial and same-sex unions--unions that were more easily averted by previous generations of parents. Complementing analysis of newly available census data from the entire twentieth century with in-depth interviews that explore the histories of families and couples, Rosenfeld proposes a conceptual model to explain many social changes that may seem unrelated but that flow from the same underlying logic. He shows, for example, that the more a relationship is transgressive of conventional morality, the more likely it is for the individuals to live away from their family and area of origin.

The Founding Fathers Reconsidered

Author: R. B. Bernstein
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199839948
Format: PDF, ePub
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Here is a vividly written and compact overview of the brilliant, flawed, and quarrelsome group of lawyers, politicians, merchants, military men, and clergy known as the "Founding Fathers"--who got as close to the ideal of the Platonic "philosopher-kings" as American or world history has ever seen. In The Founding Fathers Reconsidered, R. B. Bernstein reveals Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, and the other founders not as shining demigods but as imperfect human beings--people much like us--who nevertheless achieved political greatness. They emerge here as men who sought to transcend their intellectual world even as they were bound by its limits, men who strove to lead the new nation even as they had to defer to the great body of the people and learn with them the possibilities and limitations of politics. Bernstein deftly traces the dynamic forces that molded these men and their contemporaries as British colonists in North America and as intellectual citizens of the Atlantic civilization's Age of Enlightenment. He analyzes the American Revolution, the framing and adoption of state and federal constitutions, and the key concepts and problems--among them independence, federalism, equality, slavery, and the separation of church and state--that both shaped and circumscribed the founders' achievements as the United States sought its place in the world.

The Original Compromise

Author: David Robertson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199796297
Format: PDF, Mobi
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What were the Founding Fathers really thinking when they gathered in the Pennsylvania State House to draft the United States Constitution? This book explores this question and more. Organized thematically, each chapter covers a crucial Constitutional issue: the respective roles of the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature; the balance between the federal government and the states; slavery; and war and peace.

The Mythology of American Politics

Author: John T. Bookman
Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
ISBN: 1612343910
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this provocative set of essays, John Bookman delves beneath the transitory issues of the day to identify and respond to the fundamental, perennial questions of American politics. The questions concern the myths that shape the thinking of so many Americans about politics. These myths are the popular narratives that impart meaning to the American experience and define for many what it is to be an American. For the first time, readers have under one cover a sober, informed examination of these myths. Among the myths subjected to critical examination are the following: 1. The Framers of the Constitution were fundamentalist Christians. Americans at the time of the founding constituted a Christian nation. 2. The Framers were disinterested demigods who wrote a constitution for the ages. 3. James Madison intended separation of powers and checks and balances to protect the general citizenry against government. 4. Constitutional constraints on democratic majorities are necessary to prevent tyranny of the majority. 5. The United States is exceptional. It is more populist, egalitarian, religious, patriotic, and prosperous than other nations. 6. Americans are a chosen people marked out by God or history to carry out a world-historical mission. 7. The unfettered market uses resources more efficiently, better promotes growth, and confers more freedom than other ways of organizing the production and distribution of goods and services. In his examination of these myths, Bookman does not slight argument in favor of description and explanation. He does not neglect description and explanation, but he enlists them in the service of arguments, and those arguments reach conclusions sure to be controversial.