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62 books about Constitution
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62 books about Constitution
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“The solution for the modern GOP . . . This book provides plenty of intellectual ammunition for the modern conservative movement.” —SENATOR RAND PAUL
How can America recover from economic stagnation, moral exhaustion, and looming bankruptcy? Donald J. Devine shows the way.
Devine, a longtime adviser to Ronald Reagan, lays out a powerful case for the philosophical synthesis of freedom and tradition that Reagan said was the essence of modern conservatism. The secret of America’s success, he shows, has been the Constitution’s capacity to harmonize the twin ideals of freedom and tradition. But today, progressivism has so corrupted modern political thinking—in both parties—that leaders keep calling for the same failed tactics: more money poured into more big-government programs.
In America’s Way Back, Devine not only reveals where things went wrong, and why, but also points the way to reclaiming America’s freedom, prosperity, and creativity. The solution lies in a new “fusion” of traditional and libertarian thought.
Devine debunks the common view that marrying the two is nothing more than political calculation. He shows that without a deep philosophical commitment to harmonizing freedom and tradition, neither of these ideals can long survive.
In making the case for twenty-first-century fusionism, America’s Way Back updates the insights of Frank Meyer, the theorist Reagan specifically credited with “fashioning a vigorous synthesis of traditional and libertarian thought.“ Devine shows that, just as the fusionism of Meyer and William F. Buckley Jr. led to the conservative revival in the 1960s, a new harmony between freedom and tradition will revive America today.
“Prepare for enlightenment. . . . The [story] that Mr. Devine narrates aptly, informatively, is engaging as a summons to look around, look back, ask the vital question: Are conservatives doing the very, very best they can?” —Washington Times
“Intellectual yet highly readable . . . Devine has plenty of such instructive analysis and anecdotes to bolster his points. . . . You will learn about concepts your university should have introduced to you, only now via Devine’s graceful writing, incisive analysis, instructive anecdotes, and a plan to restore America’s greatness.” —Human Events
“The timing is right for [Devine’s] new book America’s Way Back. It lays out the course for a conservative intellectual renewal, to renew the nation by renewing her best traditions. . . . Reagan had a heckuva lieutenant in Don Devine. It is good to see him now mentoring the next generation of conservative leaders.” —L. Brent Bozell III, syndicated columnist, president of the Media Research Center
“A tour-de-force critique . . . We need to listen to people like Devine who are calling us back to a simpler, less complicated system of governance that allows decisions to be made at the local and state levels. If we don’t listen, if we just doggedly insist that the solution is to re-order, reform and re-imagine our failed programs, then we’ll end up going the way of the Titanic.” —Floyd Brown, Capitol Hill Daily
“A brilliant analysis of the major factors that have contributed to our nation’s decline. A very timely effort on perhaps the most critical issue of our time.” —George W. Carey, professor of government, Georgetown University
“A marvelous book. Read America’s Way Back if you fear ignorance and celebrate righteous, moral, intellectual knowledge.” —Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America
Sunder Rajan’s ethnography informs his theoretically sophisticated inquiry into how the contemporary world is shaped by the marriage of biotechnology and market forces, by what he calls technoscientific capitalism. Bringing Marxian theories of value into conversation with Foucaultian notions of biopolitics, he traces how the life sciences came to be significant producers of both economic and epistemic value in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first.
Several contributors offer wide-ranging accounts of the workings of Congress. They look at lawmakers’ attitudes toward Congress’s role as a constitutional interpreter, the offices within Congress that help lawmakers learn about constitutional issues, Congress’s willingness to use its confirmation power to shape constitutional decisions by both the executive and the courts, and the frequency with which congressional committees take constitutional questions into account. Other contributors address congressional deliberation, paying particular attention to whether Congress’s constitutional interpretations are sound. Still others examine how Congress and the courts should respond to one another’s decisions, suggesting how the courts should evaluate Congress’s work and considering how lawmakers respond to Court decisions that strike down federal legislation. While some essayists are inclined to evaluate Congress’s constitutional interpretation positively, others argue that it could be improved and suggest institutional and procedural reforms toward that end. Whatever their conclusions, all of the essays underscore the pervasive and crucial role that Congress plays in shaping the meaning of the Constitution.
Contributors. David P. Currie, Neal Devins, William N. Eskridge Jr.. John Ferejohn, Louis Fisher, Elizabeth Garrett, Michael J. Gerhardt, Michael J. Klarman, Bruce G. Peabody, J. Mitchell Pickerill, Barbara Sinclair, Mark Tushnet, Adrian Vermeule, Keith E. Whittington, John C. Yoo
This acclaimed series serves as a biography of the U.S. Constitution, offering an indispensable survey of the congressional history behind its development. In a rare examination of the role that both the legislative and executive branches have played in the development of constitutional interpretation, The Constitution in Congress shows how the actions and proceedings of these branches reveal perhaps even more about constitutional disputes than Supreme Court decisions of the time.
The centerpiece for the fourth volume in this series is the great debate over slavery and how this divisive issue led the country into the maelstrom of the Civil War. From the Jacksonian revolution of 1829 to the secession of Southern states from the Union, legal scholar David P. Currie provides an unrivaled analysis of the significant constitutional events—the Wilmot Proviso, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, and "Bleeding Kansas"—that led up to the war. Exploring how slavery was addressed in presidential speeches and debated in Congress, Currie shows how the Southern Democrats dangerously diminished federal authority and expanded states' rights, threatening the nation's very survival.
Like its predecessors, this fourth volume of The Constitution in Congress will be an invaluable reference for legal scholars and constitutional historians alike.
Some of the essays are broad in scope, reflecting on national character, patriotism, and political theory; exploring whether war and republican government are compatible; and considering in what sense we can be said to be in wartime circumstances today. Others are more specific, examining the roles of Congress, the presidency, the courts, and the international legal community. Throughout the collection, balanced, unbiased analysis leads to some surprising conclusions, one of which is that wartime conditions have sometimes increased, rather than curtailed, civil rights and civil liberties. For instance, during the cold war, government officials regarded measures aimed at expanding African Americans’ freedom at home as crucial to improving America’s image abroad.
Contributors. Sotirios Barber, Mark Brandon, James E. Fleming, Mark Graber, Samuel Issacharoff, David Luban, Richard H. Pildes, Eric Posner, Peter Spiro, William Michael Treanor, Mark Tushnet, Adrian Vermeule
From the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry to president Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package to the highly controversial passage of federal health-care reform, conservatives and concerned citizens alike have grown increasingly fearful of big government. Enter Nobel Prize–winning economist and political theorist F. A. Hayek, whose passionate warning against empowering states with greater economic control, The Road to Serfdom, became an overnight sensation last summer when it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. The book has since sold over 150,000 copies.
The latest entry in the University of Chicago Press’s series of newly edited editions of Hayek’s works, The Constitution of Liberty is, like Serfdom, just as relevant to our present moment. The book is considered Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. Here Hayek defends the principles of a free society, casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state and examining the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government—as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge. In opposition to those who call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty.
Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights are timelier and more welcome than ever before. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from his enduring wisdom.
In recognition of the bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States, former chief justice Warren E. Burger, Justice Antonin Scalia, ACLU president Norman Dorsen, and others delivered papers at the first annual DeWitt Wallace Conference on the Liberal Arts, held at Macalester College, St. Paul.
Joining some of the best legal minds in America were novelist John Edgar Wideman, chemist Harry B. Gray, historian Mary Beth Norton, and psychiatrist and social psychologist Robert Jay Lifton.
Opening the conference and this book, former chief Justice Burger emphasizes the daring of those who drafted the Constitution. Justice Scalia, noting the great reduction in curbs to freedom of expression since World War I, points out that the proliferation of freedom has forced courts to distinguish between types of expression.
Although the views expressed in these essays differ widely, opinion concerning the major issue falls into two definite camps: Burger, Scalia, and Dorsen contend that freedom of expression depends on the legal structure for survival; Wideman, Gray, Lifton, and Norton maintain that social forces determine freedom of expression.
In 2005 hopes for closer European integration were dealt a potentially fatal blow when French and Dutch voters rejected the proposed new European Union constitution. Going beyond the instant analysis of journalists, which placed blame for the failed vote on the two nations’ internal politics, Democracy Needs Dispute examines a collection of media accounts of European policy debates to argue that the problem with the EU is its relative lack of vibrant political conflict. Democracy Needs Dispute offers both up-to-date analysis and a rich theoretical understanding of the problems facing further efforts at European integration.
Contributors. José Julián Álvarez González, Roberto Aponte Toro, Christina Duffy Burnett, José A. Cabranes, Sanford Levinson, Burke Marshall, Gerald L. Neuman, Angel R. Oquendo, Juan Perea, Efrén Rivera Ramos, Rogers M. Smith, E. Robert Statham Jr., Brook Thomas, Richard Thornburgh, Juan R. Torruella, José Trías Monge, Mark Tushnet, Mark Weiner
In this highly readable study of Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts and actions concerning the U.S. Constitution, Brian R. Dirck combines extensive primary research and thoughtful, accessible consideration of Lincoln’s views to reveal new insights into Lincoln’s impact on the U.S. Constitution. In the statesman’s roles as a leading antebellum politician, an ardent critic of slavery, and the president of the United States during the Civil War, Lincoln fashioned a strong antislavery constitutional ideology and articulated a constitutional vision of the Civil War that reinforced his determination to restore the Union.
Grounding Lincoln’s constitutionalism in his reading habits and early legal career, Dirck masterfully balances biographical details, Lincoln’s value system, the opinions of his supporters and critics, and key events and ideas to show how his thinking about the U.S. Constitution changed over time. From Lincoln’s deep reverence for the work of the Founding Fathers to his innovative interpretation of presidential war powers, Dirck reveals Lincoln’s understanding of the Constitution to be progressive, emphasizing federal power as a tool to develop the economy, and pragmatic, in that he was often forced to make decisions on the fly during a remarkably volatile period in American history. Lincoln used his conception of presidential war powers to advance the twin causes of Union and emancipation, and Dirck explores the constitutional problems stirred by curbs Lincoln placed on civil liberties, internal security, and freedom of expression during wartime.
More than a straightforward overview of Lincoln’s constitutional views, Lincoln and the Constitution provides a starting point for further inquiry into interpretations and defenses as well as the political, intellectual, and cultural traditions of the founding document of the United States. In the end, Dirck shows, Lincoln viewed the political and legal traditions of the Constitution with optimism, emphasizing
throughout his life the possibilities he believed the document held—always keeping faith in it and swearing to protect it, even as he was awash in a sea of blood and controversy.
Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools 2013 edition
In Making Sense of the Constitution: A Primer on the Supreme Court and Its Struggle to Apply Our Fundamental Law, Walter Frank tackles in a comprehensive but lively manner subjects rarely treated in one volume.
Aiming at both the general reader and students of political science, law, or history, Frank begins with a brief discussion of the nature of constitutional law and why the Court divides so closely on many issues. He then proceeds to an analysis of the Constitution and subsequent amendments, placing them in their historical context. Next, Frank shifts to the Supreme Court and its decisions, examining, among other things, doctrinal developments, the Court’s decision making processes, how justices interact with each other, and the debate over how the Constitution should be interpreted.
The work concludes with a close analysis of Court decisions in six major areas of continuing controversy, including abortion, affirmative action, and campaign finance.
Outstanding by the University Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools
The Second Amendment is regularly invoked by opponents of gun control, but H. Richard Uviller and William G. Merkel argue the amendment has nothing to contribute to debates over private access to firearms. In The Militia and the Right to Arms, or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, Uviller and Merkel show how postratification history has sapped the Second Amendment of its meaning. Starting with a detailed examination of the political principles of the founders, the authors build the case that the amendment's second clause (declaring the right to bear arms) depends entirely on the premise set out in the amendment's first clause (stating that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state). The authors demonstrate that the militia envisioned by the framers of the Bill of Rights in 1789 has long since disappeared from the American scene, leaving no lineal descendants. The constitutional right to bear arms, Uviller and Merkel conclude, has evaporated along with the universal militia of the eighteenth century.
Using records from the founding era, Uviller and Merkel explain that the Second Amendment was motivated by a deep fear of standing armies. To guard against the debilitating effects of militarism, and against the ultimate danger of a would-be Caesar at the head of a great professional army, the founders sought to guarantee the existence of well-trained, self-armed, locally commanded citizen militia, in which service was compulsory. By its very existence, this militia would obviate the need for a large and dangerous regular army. But as Uviller and Merkel describe the gradual rise of the United States Army and the National Guard over the last two hundred years, they highlight the nation's abandonment of the militia ideal so dear to the framers. The authors discuss issues of constitutional interpretation in light of radically changed social circumstances and contrast their position with the arguments of a diverse group of constitutional scholars including Sanford Levinson, Carl Bogus, William Van Alstyne, and Akhil Reed Amar.
Espousing a centrist position in the polarized arena of Second Amendment interpretation, this book will appeal to those wanting to know more about the amendment's relevance to the issue of gun control, as well as to those interested in the constitutional and political context of America's military history.
At the dawn of the modern era, philosophers reinterpreted their subject as the study of consciousness, pushing the body to the margins of philosophy. With the arrival of Husserlian thought in the late nineteenth century, the body was once again understood to be part of the transcendental field. And yet, despite the enormous influence of Husserl’s phenomenology, the role of "embodiment" in the broader philosophical landscape remains largely unresolved. In his ambitious debut book, Phenomenology and Embodiment, Joona Taipale tackles the Husserlian concept—also engaging the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Michel Henry—with a comprehensive and systematic phenomenological investigation into the role of embodiment in the constitution of self-awareness, intersubjectivity, and objective reality. In doing so, he contributes a detailed clarification of the fundamental constitutive role of embodiment in the basic relations of subjectivity.
Where did the right to privacy come from and what does it mean? Grappling with the critical issues involving women and gays that relate to the recent Supreme Court appointment, Vincent J. Samar develops a definition of legal privacy, discusses the reasons why and the degree to which privacy should be protected, and shows the relationship between privacy and personal autonomy. He answers former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s questions about scope, content, and legal justification for a general right to privacy and emphasizes issues involving gays and lesbians, Samar maintains that these privacy issues share a common constitutional-ethical underpinning with issues such as abortion, surrogate motherhood, drug testing, and the right to die.
After its early introduction into the English colonies in North America, slavery in the United States lasted as a legal institution until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865. But increasingly during the contested politics of the early republic, abolitionists cried out that the Constitution itself was a slaveowners’ document, produced to protect and further their rights. A Slaveholders’ Union furthers this unsettling claim by demonstrating once and for all that slavery was indeed an essential part of the foundation of the nascent republic.
In this powerful book, George William Van Cleve demonstrates that the Constitution was pro-slavery in its politics, its economics, and its law. He convincingly shows that the Constitutional provisions protecting slavery were much more than mere “political” compromises—they were integral to the principles of the new nation. By the late 1780s, a majority of Americans wanted to create a strong federal republic that would be capable of expanding into a continental empire. In order for America to become an empire on such a scale, Van Cleve argues, the Southern states had to be willing partners in the endeavor, and the cost of their allegiance was the deliberate long-term protection of slavery by America’s leaders through the nation’s early expansion. Reconsidering the role played by the gradual abolition of slavery in the North, Van Cleve also shows that abolition there was much less progressive in its origins—and had much less influence on slavery’s expansion—than previously thought.
Deftly interweaving historical and political analyses, A Slaveholders’ Union will likely become the definitive explanation of slavery’s persistence and growth—and of its influence on American constitutional development—from the Revolutionary War through the Missouri Compromise of 1821.
The founding of the United States after the American Revolution was so deliberate, so inspired, and so monumental in scope that the key actors considered this new government to be a work of art framed from natural rights. Recognizing the artificial nature of the state, these early politicians believed the culture of a people should inform the development of their governing rules and bodies. Eric Slauter explores these central ideas in this extensive and novel account of the origins and meanings of the Constitution of the United States. Slauter uncovers the hidden cultural histories upon which the document rests, highlights the voices of ordinary people, and considers how the artifice of the state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.
A complement to classic studies of the Constitution’s economic, ideological, and political origins, The State as a Work of Art sheds new light on the origins of the Constitution and on ongoing debates over its interpretation.
Featuring 113 primary source documents, The U.S. Constitution: A Reader was developed for teaching the core course on the U.S. Constitution at Hillsdale College. Divided into eleven sections with introductions by members of Hillsdale's Politics Department faculty, readings cover the principles of the American founding; the framing and structure of the Constitution; the secession crisis and the Civil War; the Progressive rejection of the Constitution; and the building of the administrative state based on Progressive principles.