Federalism is regarded as one of the signal American contributions to modern politics. Its origins are typically traced to the drafting of the Constitution, but the story began decades before the delegates met in Philadelphia. In this groundbreaking book, Alison LaCroix traces the history of American federal thought from its colonial beginnings in scattered provincial responses to British assertions of authority, to its emergence in the late eighteenth century as a normative theory of multilayered government. The core of this new federal ideology was a belief that multiple independent levels of government could legitimately exist within a single polity, and that such an arrangement was not a defect but a virtue. This belief became a foundational principle and aspiration of the American political enterprise. LaCroix thus challenges the traditional account of republican ideology as the single dominant framework for eighteenth-century American political thought. Understanding the emerging federal ideology returns constitutional thought to the central place that it occupied for the founders. Federalism was not a necessary adaptation to make an already designed system work; it was the system. Connecting the colonial, revolutionary, founding, and early national periods in one story reveals the fundamental reconfigurations of legal and political power that accompanied the formation of the United States. The emergence of American federalism should be understood as a critical ideological development of the period, and this book is essential reading for everyone interested in the American story.
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution is a classic of American historical literature—required reading for understanding the Founders’ ideas and their struggles to implement them. In the preface to this 50th anniversary edition, Bernard Bailyn isolates the Founders’ profound concern with the uses and misuses of power.
“[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
This project pulls together classic and modern readings and essays that explore theories of federalism. Spanning the Seventeenth through Twenty-first-centuries of European, U.S. and Canadian thinkers, this attempts to be a comprehensive reader for students in political theory. The emphasis throughout is on the normative argument, the advantages or disadvantages of federal and confederal arrangements compared to unitary states, and on the relative merits of various proposals to improve particular federations or confederations. These also draw on the full range of political science subfields: from political sociology, political economy and constitutional studies to comparative politics and international relations. There are also readings, both contemporary and historical, that attempt to clarify conceptual issues.
This interdisciplinary collection presents a scholarly treatment of how the constitutional politics of federalism affect governments and citizens, offering an accessible yet comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court’s federalism jurisprudence and its effect on the development of national and state policies in key areas of constitutional jurisprudence. The contributors address the impact that Supreme Court federalism precedents have in setting the parameters of national law and policies that the states are often bound to respect under constitutional law, including those that relate to the scope and application of gun rights, LGBT freedoms, health care administration, anti-terrorism initiatives, capital punishment, immigration and environmental regulation, the legalization of marijuana and voting rights. Uniting scholarship in law, political science, criminology, and public administration, the chapters study the themes, principles, and politics that traditionally have been at the center of federalism research across different academic disciplines. They look at the origins, nature and effect of dual and cooperative federalism, presidential powers and administrative regulation, state sovereignty and states’ rights, judicial federalism and the advocacy of organized interests.
Using the British Empire as a case study, this succinct study argues that the establishment of overseas settlements in America created a problem of constitutional organization. The failure to resolve the resulting tensions led to the thirteen continental colonies seceding from the empire in 1776. Challenging those historians who have assumed that the British had the law on their side during the debates that led to the American Revolution, this volume argues that the empire had long exhibited a high degree of constitutional multiplicity, with each colony having its own discrete constitution. Contending that these constitutions cannot be conflated with the metropolitan British constitution, it argues that British refusal to accept the legitimacy of colonial understandings of the sanctity of the many colonial constitutions and the imperial constitution was the critical element leading to the American Revolution.
Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution
Author: Jack N. Rakove
Category: Political Science
From abortion to same-sex marriage, today's most urgent political debates will hinge on this two-part question: What did the United States Constitution originally mean and who now understands its meaning best? Rakove chronicles the Constitution from inception to ratification and, in doing so, traces its complex weave of ideology and interest, showing how this document has meant different things at different times to different groups of Americans. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Genius and Ambiguities of the American Founders
Author: Bernard Bailyn
Two time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bernard Bailyn has distilled a lifetime of study into this brilliant illumination of the ideas and world of the Founding Fathers. In five succinct essays he reveals the origins, depth, and global impact of their extraordinary creativity. The opening essay illuminates the central importance of America’s provincialism to the formation of a truly original political system. In the chapters following, he explores the ambiguities and achievements of Jefferson’s career, Benjamin Franklin’s changing image and supple diplomacy, the circumstances and impact of the Federalist Papers, and the continuing influence of American constitutional thought throughout the Atlantic world. To Begin the World Anew enlivens our appreciation of how America came to be and deepens our understanding of the men who created it. From the Trade Paperback edition.
This ambitious book examines the constitutional and legal doctrines of the antislavery movement from the eve of the American Revolution to the Wilmot Proviso and the 1848 national elections. Relating political activity to constitutional thought, William M. Wiecek surveys the antislavery societies, the ideas of their individual members, and the actions of those opposed to slavery and its expansion into the territories. He shows that the idea of constitutionalism has popular origins and was not the exclusive creation of a caste of lawyers. In offering a sophisticated examination of both sides of the argument about slavery, he not only discusses court cases and statutes, but also considers a broad range of "extrajudicial" thought—political speeches and pamphlets, legislative debates and arguments.
The chapters of this book have diverse origins. They were written over the period 1954-1984. Several (i.e., three, four, seven, and ten) were originally published in scholarly journals. Several (i.e., one, eight, nine, and eleven) are excerpts from my previous books: Soldiers of the States and Federalism: Origin, Operation and Significance. And several (i.e., two, five, and six) were written for conferences and are now published here for the first time. Despite the fact that this history suggests they are quite unrelated, these chapters do indeed center on one theme: the continuity of American federalism. In order to emphasize that theme, I have written an introduction and an initial commentary for each chapter. These commen taries, taken together, with the introduction, constitute the exposition of the theme. Some of these chapters (four, six, and ten) were written with my students, Ronald Schaps, John Lemco, and William Bast. They did much of the research and analysis so the credit for these chapters belongs to them as much as to me. Chapter five is based quite closely on William Paul Alexander's dissertation for the Ph. D. degree at the University of Rochester, 1973.
? Though Americans rarely appreciate it, federalism has profoundly shaped their nation’s past, present, and future. Federalism—the division of government authority between the national government and the states—affects the prosperity, security, and daily life of every American. Some of the most spectacular political conflicts in American history have been fought on the battlefield of federalism, including states’ rights to leave the union, government power to regulate business, and responses to the problems of race, poverty, pollution, abortion, and gay rights. In the second edition of this nuanced and comprehensive text, David Brian Robertson shows that past choices shape present circumstances, and that a deep understanding of American government, public policy, political processes, and society requires an understanding of the key steps in federalism’s evolution in American history. New to the Second Edition Emphasizes that federalism is a battleground that shapes every life inAmerica. Extensively revised and updated, including new coverage of recent controversies like Ferguson, immigration, climate change, Obamacare, gay rights, the minimum wage, political polarization, voter identification, fracking, and marijuana legalization. Brings together the newest developments in history, political science, law,and related disciplines to show how federalism influences government and politics today. Includes chapter-opening vignettes that deal with contemporary cases and policy challenges. ?
In his new book, Michal Jan Rozbicki undertakes to bridge the gap between the political and the cultural histories of the American Revolution. Through a careful examination of liberty as both the ideological axis and the central metaphor of the age, he is able to offer a fresh model for interpreting the Revolution. By establishing systemic linkages between the histories of the free and the unfree, and between the factual and the symbolic, this framework points to a fundamental reassessment of the ways we think about the American Founding. Rozbicki moves beyond the two dominant interpretations of Revolutionary liberty—one assuming the Founders invested it with a modern meaning that has in essence continued to the present day, the other highlighting its apparent betrayal by their commitment to inequality. Through a consistent focus on the interplay between culture and power, Rozbicki demonstrates that liberty existed as an intricate fusion of political practices and symbolic forms. His deeply historicized reconstruction of its contemporary meanings makes it clear that liberty was still understood as a set of privileges distributed according to social rank rather than a universal right. In fact, it was because the Founders considered this assumption self-evident that they felt confident in publicizing a highly liberal, symbolic narrative of equal liberty to represent the Revolutionary endeavor. The uncontainable success of this narrative went far beyond the circumstances that gave birth to it because it put new cultural capital—a conceptual arsenal of rights and freedoms—at the disposal of ordinary people as well as political factions competing for their support, providing priceless legitimacy to all those who would insist that its nominal inclusiveness include them in fact.
The preeminent historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. More than almost any other nation in the world, the United States began as an idea. For this reason, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood believes that the American Revolution is the most important event in our history, bar none. Since American identity is so fluid and not based on any universally shared heritage, we have had to continually return to our nation's founding to understand who we are. In The Idea of America, Wood reflects on the birth of American nationhood and explains why the revolution remains so essential. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution-from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment-and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy. As Wood reveals, while the founders hoped to create a virtuous republic of yeoman farmers and uninterested leaders, they instead gave birth to a sprawling, licentious, and materialistic popular democracy. Wood also traces the origins of American exceptionalism to this period, revealing how the revolutionary generation, despite living in a distant, sparsely populated country, believed itself to be the most enlightened people on earth. The revolution gave Americans their messianic sense of purpose-and perhaps our continued propensity to promote democracy around the world-because the founders believed their colonial rebellion had universal significance for oppressed peoples everywhere. Yet what may seem like audacity in retrospect reflected the fact that in the eighteenth century republicanism was a truly radical ideology-as radical as Marxism would be in the nineteenth-and one that indeed inspired revolutionaries the world over. Today there exists what Wood calls a terrifying gap between us and the founders, such that it requires almost an act of imagination to fully recapture their era. Because we now take our democracy for granted, it is nearly impossible for us to appreciate how deeply the founders feared their grand experiment in liberty could evolve into monarchy or dissolve into licentiousness. Gracefully written and filled with insight, The Idea of America helps us to recapture the fears and hopes of the revolutionary generation and its attempts to translate those ideals into a working democracy. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more. Look for Gordon's new book, Friends Divided.
Alison L. LaCroix,Bernard D Meltzer Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar Richard H McAdams,Martha C. Nussbaum,Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Martha C Nussbaum
Author: Alison L. LaCroix,Bernard D Meltzer Professor of Law and Aaron Director Research Scholar Richard H McAdams,Martha C. Nussbaum,Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Martha C Nussbaum
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Writers of fiction have always confronted topics of crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime on the part of both authors and readers is not surprising, given that criminal justice touches on so many political and psychological themes essential to literature, and comes equippedwith a trial process that contains its own dramatic structure. This volume explores this profound and enduring literary engagement with crime, investigation, and criminal justice. The collected essays explore three themes that connect the world of law with that of fiction. First, defining and punishing crime is one of the fundamental purposes of government,along with the protection of victims by the prevention of crime. And yet criminal punishment remains one of the most abused and terrifying forms of political power. Second, crime is intensely psychological and therefore an important subject by which a writer can develop and explore character. Athird connection between criminal justice and fiction involves the inherently dramatic nature of the legal system itself, particularly the trial. Moreover, the ongoing public conversation about crime and punishment suggests that the time is ripe for collaboration between law and literature in thistroubled domain.The essays in this collection span a wide array of genres, including tragic drama, science fiction, lyric poetry, autobiography, and mystery novels. The works discussed include works as old as fifth-century BCE Greek tragedy and as recent as contemporary novels, memoirs, and mystery novels. Thecumulative result is arresting: there are "killer wives" and crimes against trees; a government bureaucrat who sends political adversaries to their death for treason before falling to the same fate himself; a convicted murderer who doesn't die when hanged; a psychopathogical collector whose quitesane kidnapping victim nevertheless also collects; Justice Thomas' reading and misreading of Bigger Thomas; a man who forgives his son's murderer and one who cannot forgive his wife's non-existent adultery; fictional detectives who draw on historical analysis to solve murders. These essays begin aconversation, and they illustrate the great depth and power of crime in literature.
Reclaiming the Founding Fathers from America's Right Wing
Author: Michael Austin
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Category: Political Science
This book examines dozens of books, articles, speeches, and radio broadcasts by such figures as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Larry Schweikart, and David Barton to expose the deep historical flaws in their use of America's founding history. In contrast to their misleading method of citing proof texts to serve a narrow agenda, Austin allows the Founding Fathers to speak for themselves, situating all quotations in the proper historical context. What emerges is a true historical picture of men who often disagreed with one another on such crucial issues as federal power, judicial review, and the separation of church and state. As Austin shows, the real legacy of the Founding Fathers to us is a political process: a system of disagreement, debate, and compromise that has kept democracy vibrant in America for more than two hundred years. Austin’s carefully researched and rigorously argued book is essential reading for anyone seeking the accurate historical background to many of the today's hot-button political debates. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Annotation Although the US is proud of being a secular state, religion lies at the heart of American politics. This volume looks at how the country came to have the soul of a church & the consequences - the moral crusades against slavery, alcohol, witchcraft & discrimination that time & again have prevailed upon the nation.
Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State
Author: Max M. Edling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Political Science
What were the intentions of the Founders? Was the American constitution designed to protect individual rights? To limit the powers of government? To curb the excesses of democracy? Or to create a robust democratic nation-state? These questions echo through today's most heated legal and political debates. In this powerful new interpretation of America's origins, Max Edling argues that the Federalists were primarily concerned with building a government that could act vigorously in defense of American interests. The Constitution transferred the powers of war making and resource extraction from the states to the national government thereby creating a nation-state invested with all the important powers of Europe's eighteenth-century "fiscal-military states." A strong centralized government, however, challenged the American people's deeply ingrained distrust of unduly concentrated authority. To secure the Constitution's adoption the Federalists had to accommodate the formation of a powerful national government to the strong current of anti-statism in the American political tradition. They did so by designing a government that would be powerful in times of crisis, but which would make only limited demands on the citizenry and have a sharply restricted presence in society. The Constitution promised the American people the benefit of government without its costs. Taking advantage of a newly published letterpress edition of the constitutional debates, A Revolution in Favor of Government recovers a neglected strand of the Federalist argument, making a persuasive case for rethinking the formation of the federal American state.
Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity
Author: Richard Beeman,Stephen Botein,Edward C. Carter II
Publisher: UNC Press Books
Beyond Confederation scrutinizes the ideological background of the U.S. Constitution, the rigors of its writing and ratification, and the problems it both faced and provoked immediately after ratification. The essays in this collection question much of the heritage of eighteenth-century constitutional thought and suggest that many of the commonly debated issues have led us away from the truly germane questions. The authors challenge many of the traditional generalizations and the terms and scope of that debate as well. The contributors raise fresh questions about the Constitution as it enters its third century. What happened in Philadelphia in 1787, and what happened in the state ratifying conventions? Why did the states--barely--ratify the Constitution? What were Americans of the 1789s attempting to achieve? The exploratory conclusions point strongly to an alternative constitutional tradition, some of it unwritten, much of it rooted in state constitutional law; a tradition that not only has redefined the nature and role of the Constitution but also has placed limitations on its efficacy throughout American history. The authors are Lance Banning, Richard Beeman, Stephen Botein, Richard D. Brown, Richard E. Ellis, Paul Finkelman, Stanley N. Katz, Ralph Lerner, Drew R. McCoy, John M. Murrin, Jack N. Rakove, Janet A. Riesman, and Gordon S. Wood.