The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Author: Bruce ACKERMAN
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674020054
Release Date: 2009-06-30
Genre: History

Based on seven years of archival research, the book describes previously unknown aspects of the electoral college crisis of 1800, presenting a revised understanding of the early days of two great institutions that continue to have a major impact on American history: the plebiscitarian presidency and a Supreme Court that struggles to put the presidency's claims of a popular mandate into constitutional perspective. Through close studies of two Supreme Court cases, Ackerman shows how the court integrated Federalist and Republican themes into the living Constitution of the early republic.

The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Author: Bruce A. Ackerman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674018664
Release Date: 2005
Genre: History

Provides a new understanding of the early days of the Supreme Court and office of the President.

The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Author: Bruce ACKERMAN
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674023951
Release Date: 2007
Genre: History

Based on seven years of archival research, the book describes previously unknown aspects of the electoral college crisis of 1800, presenting a revised understanding of the early days of two great institutions that continue to have a major impact on American history: the plebiscitarian presidency and a Supreme Court that struggles to put the presidency's claims of a popular mandate into constitutional perspective. Through close studies of two Supreme Court cases, Ackerman shows how the court integrated Federalist and Republican themes into the living Constitution of the early republic.

Andrew Jackson and the Constitution

Author: Gerard N. Magliocca
Publisher:
ISBN: 0700617868
Release Date: 2011
Genre: History

Focuses on key Supreme Court battles during Jackson's tenure--states' rights, the status of Native Americans and slaves, and many others--to demonstrate how the fights between Jacksonian Democrats and Federalists, and later Republicans, is simply the inevitable--and cyclical--shift in constitutional interpretation that happens from one generation to the next.

We the People Volume 2

Author: Bruce Ackerman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674003972
Release Date: 2000-09-15
Genre: History

Volume 3, Publisher description: The Civil Rights Revolution carries Bruce Ackerman's sweeping reinterpretation of constitutional history into the era beginning with Brown v. Board of Education. From Rosa Parks's courageous defiance, to Martin Luther King's resounding cadences in "I Have a Dream," to Lyndon Johnson's leadership of Congress, to the Supreme Court's decisions redefining the meaning of equality, the movement to end racial discrimination decisively changed our understanding of the Constitution. Ackerman anchors his discussion in the landmark statutes of the 1960s: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Challenging conventional legal analysis and arguing instead that constitutional politics won the day, he describes the complex interactions among branches of government--and also between government and the ordinary people who participated in the struggle. He showcases leaders such as Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Nixon who insisted on real change, not just formal equality, for blacks and other minorities. The Civil Rights Revolution transformed the Constitution, but not through judicial activism or Article V amendments. The breakthrough was the passage of laws that ended the institutionalized humiliations of Jim Crow and ensured equal rights at work, in schools, and in the voting booth. This legislation gained congressional approval only because of the mobilized support of the American people--and their principles deserve a central place in the nation's history. Ackerman's arguments are especially important at a time when the Roberts Court is actively undermining major achievements of America' Second Reconstruction.

Revolution by Judiciary

Author: Jed Rubenfeld
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674017153
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Law

Although constitutional law is supposed to be fixed and enduring, its central narrative in the twentieth century has been one of radical reinterpretation--Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, Bush v. Gore. What, if anything, justifies such radical reinterpretation? How does it work doctrinally? What, if anything, structures it or limits it? Jed Rubenfeld finds a pattern in American constitutional interpretation that answers these questions convincingly. He posits two different understandings of how constitutional rights would apply or not apply to particular legislation. One is that a right would be violated if certain laws were passed. The other is that a right would not be violated. He calls the former "Application Understandings" and the latter "No-Application Understandings." He finds that constitutional law has almost always adhered to all of the original Application Understandings, but where it has departed from history, as it did in the Brown decision, it has departed from No-Application Understandings. Specifically, the Fourteenth Amendment did not prohibit racial segregation, so Rubenfeld argues that the Supreme Court had no problem reinterpreting it to prohibit it. It was a No-Application Understanding. This is a powerful argument that challenges current theories of constitutional interpretation from Bork to Dworkin. It rejects simplistic originalism, but restores historicity to constitutional theorizing.

We the People Volume 2

Author: Bruce Ackerman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674736627
Release Date: 2000-09-15
Genre: History

Constitutional change, seemingly so orderly, formal, and refined, has in fact been a revolutionary process from the first, as Bruce Ackerman makes clear in We the People, Volume 2: Transformations. The Founding Fathers, hardly the genteel conservatives of myth, set America on a remarkable course of revolutionary disruption and constitutional creativity that endures to this day. After the bloody sacrifices of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party revolutionized the traditional system of constitutional amendment as they put principles of liberty and equality into higher law. Another wrenching transformation occurred during the Great Depression, when Franklin Roosevelt and his New Dealers vindicated a new vision of activist government against an assault by the Supreme Court. These are the crucial episodes in American constitutional history that Ackerman takes up in this second volume of a trilogy hailed as “one of the most important contributions to American constitutional thought in the last half-century” (Cass Sunstein, The New Republic). In each case he shows how the American people—whether led by the Founding Federalists or the Lincoln Republicans or the Roosevelt Democrats—have confronted the Constitution in its moments of great crisis with dramatic acts of upheaval, always in the name of popular sovereignty. A thoroughly new way of understanding constitutional development, We the People, Volume 2: Transformations reveals how America’s “dualist democracy” provides for these populist upheavals that amend the Constitution, often without formalities. The book also sets contemporary events, such as the Reagan Revolution and Roe v. Wade, in deeper constitutional perspective. In this context Ackerman exposes basic constitutional problems inherited from the New Deal Revolution and exacerbated by the Reagan Revolution, then considers the fundamental reforms that might resolve them. A bold challenge to formalist and fundamentalist views, this volume demonstrates that ongoing struggle over America’s national identity, rather than consensus, marks its constitutional history.

We the People Volume 3

Author: Bruce Ackerman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674416499
Release Date: 2014-03-03
Genre: Law

The Civil Rights Revolution carries Bruce Ackerman's sweeping reinterpretation of constitutional history into the era beginning with Brown v Board of Education. Laws that ended Jim Crow and ensured equal rights at work, in schools, and in the voting booth gained congressional approval only after the American people mobilized their support.

American Sphinx

Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0375727469
Release Date: 1998-11-19
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Following Thomas Jefferson from the drafting of the Declaration of Independence to his retirement in Monticello, Joseph J. Ellis unravels the contradictions of the Jeffersonian character. He gives us the slaveholding libertarian who was capable of decrying mescegenation while maintaing an intimate relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings; the enemy of government power who exercisdd it audaciously as president; the visionarty who remained curiously blind to the inconsistencies in his nature. American Sphinx is a marvel of scholarship, a delight to read, and an essential gloss on the Jeffersonian legacy.

Dominion of Memories

Author: Susan Dunn
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 9780465006793
Release Date: 2007-07-30
Genre: History

For decades, the Commonwealth of Virginia led the nation. The premier state in population, size, and wealth, it produced a galaxy of leaders: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Mason, Marshall. Four of the first five presidents were Virginians. And yet by the middle of the nineteenth century, Virginia had become a byword for slavery, provincialism, and poverty. What happened? In her remarkable book, Dominion of Memories, historian Susan Dunn reveals the little known story of the decline of the Old Dominion. While the North rapidly industrialized and democratized, Virginia's leaders turned their backs on the accelerating modern world. Spellbound by the myth of aristocratic, gracious plantation life, they waged an impossible battle against progress and time itself. In their last years, two of Virginia's greatest sons, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, grappled vigorously with the Old Dominion's plight. But bound to the traditions of their native soil, they found themselves grievously torn by the competing claims of state and nation, slavery and equality, the agrarian vision and the promises of economic development and prosperity. This fresh and penetrating examination of Virginia's struggle to defend its sovereignty, traditions, and unique identity encapsulates, in the history of a single state, the struggle of an entire nation drifting inexorably toward Civil War.

John Marshall

Author: Harlow Giles Unger
Publisher: Da Capo Press
ISBN: 9780306822216
Release Date: 2014-09-30
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A soul-stirring biography of John Marshall, the young republic's great chief justice, who led the Supreme Court to power and brought law and order to the nation

The Development of the American Presidency

Author: Richard J. Ellis
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317552963
Release Date: 2015-06-26
Genre: Political Science

A full understanding of the institution of the American presidency requires us to examine how it developed from the founding to the present. This developmental lens, analyzing how historical turns have shaped the modern institution, allows for a richer, more nuanced understanding beyond the current newspaper headlines. The Development of the American Presidency pays great attention to that historical weight but is organized by the topics and concepts relevant to political science, with the constitutional origins and political development of the presidency its central focus. Through comprehensive and in-depth coverage, this text looks at how the presidency has evolved in relation to the public, to Congress, to the Executive branch, and to the law, showing at every step how different aspects of the presidency have followed distinct trajectories of change. All the while, Ellis illustrates the institutional relationships and tensions through stories about particular individuals and specific political conflicts. Ellis's own classroom pedagogy of promoting active learning and critical thinking is well reflected in these pages. Each chapter begins with a narrative account of some illustrative puzzle that brings to life a central concept. A wealth of photos, figures, and tables allow for the visual presentations of concepts. A companion website not only acts as a further resources base—directing students to primary documents, newspapers, and data sources—but also presents interactive timelines and practice quizzes to help students master the book's lessons. The second edition a new chapter on unilateral powers that brings greater attention to domestic policymaking.

Reassessing the Presidency

Author: David Gordon
Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute
ISBN: 9781610166140
Release Date: 2013-09-19
Genre:

American Despots

Amazing low sale price in defense of authentic freedom as versus the presidency that betrayed it!

Everyone seems to agree that brutal dictators and despotic rulers deserve scorn and worse. But why have historians been so willing to overlook the despotic actions of the United States' own presidents? You can scour libraries from one end to the other and encounter precious few criticisms of America's worst despots.

The founders imagined that the president would be a collegial leader with precious little power who constantly faced the threat of impeachment. Today, however, the president orders thousands of young men and women to danger and death in foreign lands, rubber stamps regulations that throw enterprises into upheaval, controls the composition of the powerful Federal Reserve, and manages the priorities millions of swarms of bureaucrats that vex the citizenry in every way.

It is not too much of a stretch to say that the president embodies the Leviathan state as we know it. Or, more precisely, it is not an individual president so much as the very institution of the presidency that has been the major impediment of liberty. The presidency as the founders imagined it has been displaced by democratically ratified serial despotism. And, for that reason, it must be stopped.

Every American president seems to strive to make the historians' A-list by doing big and dramatic things—wars, occupations, massive programs, tyrannies large and small—in hopes of being considered among the "greats" such as Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR. They always imagine themselves as honored by future generations: the worse their crimes, the more the accolades.

Well, the free ride ends with Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom, edited by John Denson.

This remarkable volume (825 pages including index and bibliography) is the first full-scale revision of the official history of the U.S. executive state. It traces the progression of power exercised by American presidents from the early American Republic up to the eventual reality of the power-hungry Caesars which later appear as president in American history. Contributors examine the usual judgments of the historical profession to show the ugly side of supposed presidential greatness.

The mission inherent in this undertaking is to determine how the presidency degenerated into the office of American Caesar. Did the character of the man who held the office corrupt it, or did the power of the office, as it evolved, corrupt the man? Or was it a combination of the two? Was there too much latent power in the original creation of the office as the Anti-Federalists claimed? Or was the power externally created and added to the position by corrupt or misguided men?

There's never been a better guide to everything awful about American presidents. No, you won't get the civics text approach of see no evil. Essay after essay details depredations that will shock you, and wonder how American liberty could have ever survived in light of the rule of these people.

Contributors include George Bittlingmayer, John V. Denson, Marshall L. DeRosa, Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Lowell Gallaway, Richard M. Gamble, David Gordon, Paul Gottfried, Randall G. Holcombe, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Michael Levin, Yuri N. Maltsev, William Marina, Ralph Raico, Joseph Salerno, Barry Simpson, Joseph Stromberg, H. Arthur Scott Trask, Richard Vedder, and Clyde Wilson.


The Limits of Constitutional Democracy

Author: Jeffrey K. Tulis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400836794
Release Date: 2010-10-18
Genre: Law

Constitutional democracy is at once a flourishing idea filled with optimism and promise--and an enterprise fraught with limitations. Uncovering the reasons for this ambivalence, this book looks at the difficulties of constitutional democracy, and reexamines fundamental questions: What is constitutional democracy? When does it succeed or fail? Can constitutional democracies conduct war? Can they preserve their values and institutions while addressing new forms of global interdependence? The authors gathered here interrogate constitutional democracy's meaning in order to illuminate its future. The book examines key themes--the issues of constitutional failure; the problem of emergency power and whether constitutions should be suspended when emergencies arise; the dilemmas faced when constitutions provide and restrict executive power during wartime; and whether constitutions can adapt to such globalization challenges as immigration, religious resurgence, and nuclear arms proliferation. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Sotirios Barber, Joseph Bessette, Mark Brandon, Daniel Deudney, Christopher Eisgruber, James Fleming, William Harris II, Ran Hirschl, Gary Jacobsohn, Benjamin Kleinerman, Jan-Werner Müller, Kim Scheppele, Rogers Smith, Adrian Vermeule, and Mariah Zeisberg.

The Great Decision

Author: Cliff Sloan
Publisher: PublicAffairs
ISBN: 9780786744961
Release Date: 2010-03-02
Genre: History

Following the bitterly contested election between Adams and Jefferson in 1800, the United States teetered on the brink of a second revolution. When Adams sought to prolong his policies in defiance of the electorate by packing the courts, it became evident that the new Constitution was limited in its powers. Change was in order and John Marshall stepped up to the challenge. The Great Decision tells the riveting story of Marshall and of the landmark court case, Marbury v. Madison, through which he empowered the Supreme Court and transformed the idea of the separation of powers into a working blueprint for our modern state. Rich in atmospheric detail, political intrigue, and fascinating characters, The Great Decision is an illuminating tale of America's formative years and the evolution of our democracy.