The Bill of Rights

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300127089
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Are the deep insights of Hugo Black, William Brennan, and Felix Frankfurter that have defined our cherished Bill of Rights fatally flawed? With meticulous historical scholarship and elegant legal interpretation a leading scholar of Constitutional law boldly answers yes as he explodes conventional wisdom about the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution in this incisive new account of our most basic charter of liberty. Akhil Reed Amar brilliantly illuminates in rich detail not simply the text, structure, and history of individual clauses of the 1789 Bill, but their intended relationships to each other and to other constitutional provisions. Amar's corrective does not end there, however, for as his powerful narrative proves, a later generation of antislavery activists profoundly changed the meaning of the Bill in the Reconstruction era. With the Fourteenth Amendment, Americans underwent a new birth of freedom that transformed the old Bill of Rights. We have as a result a complex historical document originally designed to protect the people against self-interested government and revised by the Fourteenth Amendment to guard minority against majority. In our continuing battles over freedom of religion and expression, arms bearing, privacy, states' rights, and popular sovereignty, Amar concludes, we must hearken to both the Founding Fathers who created the Bill and their sons and daughters who reconstructed it. Amar's landmark work invites citizens to a deeper understanding of their Bill of Rights and will set the basic terms of debate about it for modern lawyers, jurists, and historians for years to come.

Der Grundrechtsf deralismus der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika

Author: Maximilian Dombert
Publisher: Nomos Verlag
ISBN: 384528451X
Format: PDF
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Die Bindung der Mitgliedstaaten der EU an die Grundrechtecharta ist eine der großen Baustellen des unions-europäischen Föderalismus. Die Arbeit wirft einen Blick über den „großen Teich" und untersucht den Grundrechtsföderalismus der USA, der bemerkenswerte Parallelen und doch große Unterschiede zur EU und der Bindungswirkung der Grundrechtecharta aufweist. Dabei wird zunächst die Rechtsprechung des U.S. Supreme Courts nachvollzogen, die zu einer weitgehenden Bindung der Bundesstaaten an die Grundrechte des Bundes und damit zu einem unitarisierten Grundrechtsschutz geführt hat. Sodann beleuchtet die Arbeit die (erneute) Föderalisierung des Grundrechtsschutzes durch die Gerichte der Bundesstaaten. Diese haben in der jüngeren Vergangenheit die Grundrechte ihrer Bundesstaaten teilweise als über das Schutzniveau der Bundesverfassung hinausgehend interpretiert. Die Arbeit ist Ergebnis eines Forschungsaufenthaltes an der University of California in Berkeley.

Diminishing the Bill of Rights

Author: William Davenport Mercer
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 0806158662
Format: PDF, Docs
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The modern effort to locate American liberties, it turns out, began in the mud at the bottom of Baltimore harbor. John Barron Jr. and John Craig sued the city for damages after Baltimore’s rebuilt drainage system diverted water and sediment into the harbor, preventing large ships from tying up at Barron and Craig’s wharf. By the time the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1833, the issue had become whether the city’s actions constituted a taking of property by the state without just compensation, a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The high court’s decision in Barron v. Baltimore marked a critical step in the rapid evolution of law and constitutional rights during the first half of the nineteenth century. Diminishing the Bill of Rights examines the backstory and context of this decision as a turning point in the development of our current conception of individual rights. Since the colonial period, Americans had viewed their rights as springing from multiple sources, including the common law, natural right, and English legal tradition. Despite this rich heritage and a prohibition grounded in the Magna Carta against uncompensated state takings of property, the Court ruled against Barron’s claim. The Bill of Rights, Chief Justice John Marshall declared in his opinion for the majority, restrained only the federal government, not the states. The Fifth Amendment, accordingly, did not apply to Maryland or any of the cities it chartered. In explaining how the Court came to reject a multisourced view of human liberties—a position seemingly inconsistent with its previous decisions—William Davenport Mercer helps explain why we now envision the Constitution as essential to guaranteeing our rights. Marshall’s view of rights in Barron, Mercer argues, helped him navigate the Court through the precarious political currents of the time. While the chief justice may have effected a shrewd political maneuver, the decision helped hasten a reconceptualization of rights as located in documents. Its legacy, as Mercer’s work makes clear, is among the Jacksonian era’s significant democratic reforms and marks the emergence of a distinctly American constitutionalism.

Misreading the Bill of Rights Top Ten Myths Concerning Your Rights and Liberties

Author: Kirby Goidel
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 144083234X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The Bill of Rights—the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution—are widely misunderstood by many Americans. This book explores the widely held myths about the Bill of Rights, how these myths originated, why they have persisted, and the implications for contemporary politics and policy. • Carefully separates out widely held contemporary beliefs about the Bill of Rights and connects them to debates over meaning, enabling readers to see how the meaning of rights is historically and contextually determined • Explores the Bill of Rights in the context of myths that define the American political culture • Provides an even-handed but incisive analysis of individual myths, pointing out where both the left and the right often misinterpret the true meaning of the Bill of Rights • Places the debates regarding rights in contemporary politics and modern society by considering the complex challenge of protecting individual freedoms in the context of a digital age, international terrorism, and ongoing threats to national security

Reconstruction in the United States

Author: David A. Lincove
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780313291999
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Provides the definitive guide to literature about Reconstruction published from 1877 to 1998.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019991303X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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The 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. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power. With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.

America s Unwritten Constitution

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Hachette UK
ISBN: 0465033091
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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onal discussions; and the writings of court justices. America’s Unwritten Constitution presents a bold new vision of the American constitutional system, one in which proper interpretation of the Constitution rests on the interplay between its written and unwritten manifestations, but in which interpretation does not, and cannot, depend wholly on one form or the other. Neither America’s written Constitution nor its unwritten Constitution stands alone, Amar shows, and with each eye-opening example he develops a deeper, more compelling way of thinking about constitutional law than has ever been put forth before—a methodology that looks past the basic text to reveal the diverse influences, supplements, and possibilities that comprise it.

The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Author: Edward G. Gray
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199324034
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution draws on a wealth of new scholarship to create a vibrant dialogue among varied approaches to the revolution that made the United States. In thirty-three essays written by authorities on the period, the Handbook brings to life the diverse multitudes of colonial North America and their extraordinary struggles before, during, and after the eight-year-long civil war that secured the independence of thirteen rebel colonies from their erstwhile colonial parent. The chapters explore battles and diplomacy, economics and finance, law and culture, politics and society, gender, race, and religion. Its diverse cast of characters includes ordinary farmers and artisans, free and enslaved African Americans, Indians, and British and American statesmen and military leaders. In addition to expanding the Revolution's who, the Handbook broadens its where, portraying an event that far transcended the boundaries of what was to become the United States. It offers readers an American Revolution whose impact ranged far beyond the thirteen colonies. The Handbook's range of interpretive and methodological approaches captures the full scope of current revolutionary-era scholarship. Its authors, British and American scholars spanning several generations, include social, cultural, military, and imperial historians, as well as those who study politics, diplomacy, literature, gender, and sexuality. Together and separately, these essays demonstrate that the American Revolution remains a vibrant and inviting a subject of inquiry. Nothing comparable has been published in decades.

America s Constitution

Author: Akhil Reed Amar
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1588364879
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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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 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.