The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019991303X
Format: PDF, ePub
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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.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: OUP USA
ISBN: 0195378334
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Revolutionary Constitution examines how the Constitution has served as a dynamic and contested framework for legitimating power and advancing liberty in which our past concerns and experiences influence our present understanding. Informed by the latest scholarship, the book is an interpretive synthesis linking constitutional history with American political and social history.

Between Authority and Liberty

Author: Marc W. Kruman
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469620383
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In a major reinterpretation of American political thought in the revolutionary era, Marc Kruman explores the process of constitution making in each of the thirteen original states and shows that the framers created a distinctively American science of politics well before the end of the Confederation era. Suspicious of all government power, state constitution makers greatly feared arbitrary power and mistrusted legislators' ability to represent the people's interests. For these reasons, they broadened the suffrage and introduced frequent elections as a check against legislative self-interest. This analysis challenges Gordon Wood's now-classic argument that, at the beginning of the Revolution, the founders placed great faith in legislators as representatives of the people. According to Kruman, revolutionaries entrusted state constitution making only to members of temporary provincial congresses or constitutional conventions whose task it was to restrict legislative power. At the same time, Americans maintained a belief in the existence of a public good that legislators and magistrates, when properly curbed by one another and by a politically active citizenry, might pursue.

Revolutionaries

Author: Jack Rakove
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 054748674X
Format: PDF, Docs
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“[A] wide-ranging and nuanced group portrait of the Founding Fathers” by a Pulitzer Prize winner (The New Yorker). In the early 1770s, the men who invented America were living quiet, provincial lives in the rustic backwaters of the New World, devoted to family and the private pursuit of wealth and happiness. None set out to become “revolutionary.” But when events in Boston escalated, they found themselves thrust into a crisis that moved quickly from protest to war. In Revolutionaries, a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian shows how the private lives of these men were suddenly transformed into public careers—how Washington became a strategist, Franklin a pioneering cultural diplomat, Madison a sophisticated constitutional thinker, and Hamilton a brilliant policymaker. From the Boston Tea Party to the First Continental Congress, from Trenton to Valley Forge, from the ratification of the Constitution to the disputes that led to our two-party system, Rakove explores the competing views of politics, war, diplomacy, and society that shaped our nation. We see the founders before they were fully formed leaders, as ordinary men who became extraordinary, altered by history. “[An] eminently readable account of the men who led the Revolution, wrote the Constitution and persuaded the citizens of the thirteen original states to adopt it.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Superb . . . a distinctive, fresh retelling of this epochal tale . . . Men like John Dickinson, George Mason, and Henry and John Laurens, rarely leading characters in similar works, put in strong appearances here. But the focus is on the big five: Washington, Franklin, John Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton. Everyone interested in the founding of the U.S. will want to read this book.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

James Madison

Author: Brent P. Kelley
Publisher: Infobase Learning
ISBN: 1438143958
Format: PDF, ePub
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A biography of the "Father of the Constitution" and fourth president of the United States.

The U S Constitution a Very Short Introduction

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0195378326
Format: PDF
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"Though 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. We do not operate today under the same Constitution created by our founding fathers or the Constitution as completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791 or even the one revised by the Reconstruction amendments. Nor are we the same nation. As our circumstances have changed, so has our Constitution.Today we face serious challenges to the nation's constitutional legacy. Endless wars, a sharply divided electorate and deadlocked government, economic inequality, immigration, cybersecurity and privacy, and foreign interference in the nation's democratic processes, among 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"--

The American Constitutional Tradition

Author: H. Lowell Brown
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1683930487
Format: PDF, Docs
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Closer examination of foundational, revolutionary documents, and of the colonial legislation enacted on the basis of those foundational documents, reveals an American tradition of constitutionalism that the Revolutionaries were able to draw upon when fashioning their constitutions for the newly independent states and for the federal government.

What Is the Constitution

Author: Patricia Brennan Demuth
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1524786101
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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We the people at Who HQ bring readers the full story--arguments and all--of how the US Constitution came into being. Signed on September 17, 1787--four years after the American War for Independence--the Constitution laid out the supreme law of the United States of America. Today it's easy for us to take this blueprint of our government for granted. But the Framers--fifty-five men from almost all of the original 13 states--argued fiercely for many months over what ended up being only a four-page document. Here is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the hotly fought issues--those between Northern and Southern States; big states and little ones--and the key players such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington who suffered through countless revisions to make the Constitution happen.

Ratification

Author: Pauline Maier
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0684868555
Format: PDF
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Drawing on the speeches and letters of the United States' founders, the author recounts the dramatic period after the Constitutional Convention and before the Constitution was finally ratified, describing the tumultuous events that took place in homes, taverns and convention halls throughout the colonies. By the author of American Scripture.