The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution
Author: Herbert J. Storing
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
The Anti-Federalists, in Herbert J. Storing's view, are somewhat paradoxically entitled to be counted among the Founding Fathers and to share in the honor and study devoted to the founding. "If the foundations of the American polity was laid by the Federalists," he writes, "the Anti-Federalist reservations echo through American history; and it is in the dialogue, not merely in the Federalist victory, that the country's principles are to be discovered." It was largely through their efforts, he reminds us, that the Constitution was so quickly amended to include a bill of rights. Storing here offers a brilliant introduction to the thought and principles of the Anti-Federalists as they were understood by themselves and by other men and women of their time. His comprehensive exposition restores to our understanding the Anti-Federalist share in the founding its effect on some of the enduring themes and tensions of American political life. The concern with big government and infringement of personal liberty one finds in the writings of these neglected Founders strikes a remarkably timely note.
Here, on a scale unmatched by any previous collection, is the extraordinary energy and eloquence of our first national political campaign: During the secret proceedings of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the framers created a fundamentally new national plan to replace the Articles of Confederation and then submitted it to conventions in each state for ratification. Immediately, a fierce storm of argument broke. Federalist supporters, Antifederalist opponents, and seekers of a middle ground strove to balance public order and personal liberty as they praised, condemned, challenged, and analyzed the new Constitution Gathering hundreds of original texts by Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, Washington, and Patrick Henry—as well as many others less well known today—this unrivaled collection allows readers to experience firsthand the intense year-long struggle that created what remains the world’s oldest working national charter. Assembled here in chronological order are hundreds of newspaper articles, pamphlets, speeches, and private letters written or delivered in the aftermath of the Constitutional Convention. Along with familiar figures like Franklin, Madison, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and Washington, scores of less famous citizens are represented, all speaking clearly and passionately about government. The most famous writings of the ratification struggle — the Federalist essays of Hamilton and Madison — are placed in their original context, alongside the arguments of able antagonists, such as "Brutus" and the "Federal Farmer." Part One includes press polemics and private commentaries from September1787 to January 1788. That autumn, powerful arguments were made against the new charter by Virginian George Mason and the still-unidentified "Federal Farmer," while in New York newspapers, the Federalist essays initiated a brilliant defense. Dozens of speeches from the state ratifying conventions show how the "draft of a plan, nothing but a dead letter," in Madison's words, had "life and validity...breathed into it by the voice of the people." Included are the conventions in Pennsylvania, where James Wilson confronted the democratic skepticism of those representing the western frontier, and in Massachusetts, where John Hancock and Samuel Adams forged a crucial compromise that saved the country from years of political convulsion. Informative notes, biographical profiles of all writers, speakers, and recipients, and a detailed chronology of relevant events from 1774 to 1804 provide fascinating background. A general index allows readers to follow specific topics, and an appendix includes the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution (with all amendments).
From before the Civil War until his death in 1882, Ralph Waldo Emerson was renowned -- and renounced -- as one of the United States' most prominent abolitionists and as a leading visionary of the nation's liberal democratic future. Following his death, however, both Emerson's political activism and his political thought faded from public memory, replaced by the myth of the genteel man of letters and the detached sage of individualism. In the 1990s, scholars rediscovered Emerson's antislavery writings and began reviving his legacy as a political activist. A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is the first collection to evaluate Emerson's political thought in light of his recently rediscovered political activism. What were Emerson's politics? A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson authoritatively answers this question with seminal essays by some of the most prominent thinkers ever to write about Emerson -- Stanley Cavell, George Kateb, Judith N. Shklar, and Wilson Carey McWilliams -- as well as many of today's leading Emerson scholars. With an introduction that effectively destroys the "pernicious myth about Emerson's apolitical individualism" by editors Alan M. Levine and Daniel S. Malachuk, this volume reassesses Emerson's famous theory of self-reliance in light of his antislavery politics, demonstrates the importance of transcendentalism to his politics, and explores the enduring significance of his thought for liberal democracy. Including a substantial bibliography of work on Emerson's politics over the last century, A Political Companion to Ralph Waldo Emerson is an indispensable resource for students of Emerson, American literature, and American political thought, as well as for those who wrestle with the fundamental challenges of democracy and liberalism.
Combining practical legal tips with an exhaustive review of the law in the United States, this comprehensive reference answers more than 1,200 questions ranging from Where did the word tort come from? and How are state court judges selected? to Where did the first U.S. Supreme Court meet? Useful advice includes how to find a lawyer, how to file a complaint against a lawyer, how to document discrimination in the workplace, and how to handle oneself in court. Interspersed throughout are fun sidebars highlighting important cases and explanations of legal terms as well as entertaining information on bizarre and frivolous lawsuits, including one where a prisoner in Colorado sued prison officials after he injured himself during an escape attempt. With a wide range of information suitable for various knowledge bases—from junior high to junior college—this is an ideal source for anyone looking to get a better understanding of the law.
Hadley Arkes argues that it is necessary to move "beyond the Constitution," to the principles that stood antecedent to the text, if we are to understand the text and apply the Constitution to the cases that arise every day in our law.
Unique among readers in American political and social thought, From Many, One is a broad and balanced anthology that explores the problem of diversity and American political identity throughout American history. From the classic texts of the American political tradition to diverse minority writings, this book offers a wide spectrum of ideas about identity, gender, immigration, race, and religion, and addresses how these issues relate to the concept of national unity. Covering the gamut of viewpoints from majority to minority, from conservative to radical, from assimilationist to separatist, the authors range from the Founding Fathers to Frederick Jackson Turner, from Abigail Adams to bell hooks and Catharine MacKinnon; from Abraham Lincoln to Malcolm X; from Roger Williams to Ralph E. Reed. Sinopoli's extensive introductory and concluding essays set the context for and draw out the implications of the fifty readings. The conclusion includes case studies of three minority groups—homosexuals, Mexican-Americans, and Chinese-Americans—to illustrate further the themes of the volume. Brief introductions to each reading and to each of the five sections provide background information. In examining one of the central questions of American public life—the issue of national diversity—From Many, One will be a useful text for courses in American political thought, sociology, American Studies, and American history.
A New Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution
Author: Robert A. McGuire
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Business & Economics
Many important questions regarding the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution remain unresolved. Did slaveholdings or financial holdings significantly influence our Founding Fathers' stance on particular clauses or rules contained in the Constitution? Was there a division of support for the Constitution related to religious beliefs or ethnicity? Were founders from less commercial areas more likely to oppose the Constitution? To Form a More Perfect Union successfully answers these questions and offers an economic explanation for the behavior of our Founding Fathers during the nation's constitutional founding. In 1913, American historian Charles A. Beard controversially argued in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States that the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution were less interested in furthering democratic principles than in advancing specific economic and financial interests. Beard's thesis eventually emerged as the standard historical interpretation and remained so until the 1950s. Since then, many constitutional and historical scholars have questioned an economic interpretation of the Constitution as being too narrow or too calculating, believing the great principles and political philosophies that motivated the Founding Fathers to be worthier subjects of study. In this meticulously researched reexamination of the drafting and ratification of our nation's Constitution, Robert McGuire argues that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Mason and the other Founding Fathers did act as much for economic motives as for abstract ideals. To Form a More Perfect Union offers compelling evidence showing that the economic, financial, and other interests of the founders can account for the specific design and adoption of our Constitution. This is the first book to provide modern evidence that substantiates many of the overall conclusions found in Charles Beard's An Economic Interpretation while challenging and overturning other of Beard's specific findings. To Form a More Perfect Union presents an entirely new approach to the study of the shaping of the U.S. Constitution. Through the application of economic thinking and rigorous statistical techniques, as well as the processing of vast amounts of data on the economic interests and personal characteristics of the Founding Fathers, McGuire convincingly demonstrates that an economic interpretation of the Constitution is valid. Radically challenging the prevailing views of most historians, political scientists, and legal scholars, To Form a More Perfect Union provides a wealth of new findings about the Founding Fathers' constitutional choices and sheds new light on the motivations behind the design and adoption of the United States Constitution.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." —Amendment II, United States Constitution 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.