America's Constitution

A Biography

Author: Akhil Reed Amar

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1588364879

Category: History

Page: 672

View: 5532

In America’s Constitution, one of this era’s most accomplished constitutional law scholars, Akhil Reed Amar, gives the first comprehensive account of one of the world’s great political texts. Incisive, entertaining, and occasionally controversial, this “biography” of America’s framing document explains not only what the Constitution says but also why the Constitution says it. We all know this much: the Constitution is neither immutable nor perfect. Amar shows us how the story of this one relatively compact document reflects the story of America more generally. (For example, much of the Constitution, including the glorious-sounding “We the People,” was lifted from existing American legal texts, including early state constitutions.) In short, the Constitution was as much a product of its environment as it was a product of its individual creators’ inspired genius. Despite the Constitution’s flaws, its role in guiding our republic has been nothing short of amazing. Skillfully placing the document in the context of late-eighteenth-century American politics, America’s Constitution explains, for instance, whether there is anything in the Constitution that is unamendable; the reason America adopted an electoral college; why a president must be at least thirty-five years old; and why–for now, at least–only those citizens who were born under the American flag can become president. From his unique perspective, Amar also gives us unconventional wisdom about the Constitution and its significance throughout the nation’s history. For one thing, we see that the Constitution has been far more democratic than is conventionally understood. Even though the document was drafted by white landholders, a remarkably large number of citizens (by the standards of 1787) were allowed to vote up or down on it, and the document’s later amendments eventually extended the vote to virtually all Americans. We also learn that the Founders’ Constitution was far more slavocratic than many would acknowledge: the “three fifths” clause gave the South extra political clout for every slave it owned or acquired. As a result, slaveholding Virginians held the presidency all but four of the Republic’s first thirty-six years, and proslavery forces eventually came to dominate much of the federal government prior to Lincoln’s election. Ambitious, even-handed, eminently accessible, and often surprising, America’s Constitution is an indispensable work, bound to become a standard reference for any student of history and all citizens of the United States.

America's Unwritten Constitution

The Precedents and Principles We Live By

Author: Akhil Reed Amar

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 0465033091

Category: Law

Page: 640

View: 7136

onal discussions; and the writings of court justices. America’s Unwritten Constitution presents a bold new vision of the American constitutional system, one in which proper interpretation of the Constitution rests on the interplay between its written and unwritten manifestations, but in which interpretation does not, and cannot, depend wholly on one form or the other. Neither America’s written Constitution nor its unwritten Constitution stands alone, Amar shows, and with each eye-opening example he develops a deeper, more compelling way of thinking about constitutional law than has ever been put forth before—a methodology that looks past the basic text to reveal the diverse influences, supplements, and possibilities that comprise it.

Alle Menschen sind gleich - erfolgreiche nicht

Die verblüffenden kulturellen Ursachen von Erfolg

Author: Amy Chua,Jed Rubenfeld

Publisher: Campus Verlag

ISBN: 3593422794

Category: Social Science

Page: 318

View: 7621

Warum sind Einwanderer aus China und dem Iran Gewinnertypen und die aus anderen Nationen oft nicht? »Tigermutter« Amy Chua und ihr Mann Jed Rubenfeld haben eine überraschende Antwort. Erfolg hat, wer drei Dinge mit auf den Weg bekommt: das Gefühl kollektiver Überlegenheit, gepaart mit einer tiefen Unsicherheit gegenüber der neuen Gesellschaft und nicht zuletzt einer guten Portion Selbstdisziplin. Das Gute: Das Erfolgsprinzip ist kulturell geprägt, aber dennoch übertragbar und kann uns auch hierzulande eine Lehre sein. Vorausgesetzt, wir haben den nötigen Biss!

Our Undemocratic Constitution

Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It)

Author: Sanford Levinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199885710

Category: Political Science

Page: 248

View: 4681

Levinson argues that too many of our Constitution's provisions promote either unjust or ineffective government. Under the existing blueprint, we can neither rid ourselves of incompetent presidents nor assure continuity of government following catastrophic attacks. Less important, perhaps, but certainly problematic, is the appointment of Supreme Court judges for life. Adding insult to injury, the United States Constitution is the most difficult to amend or update of any constitution currently existing in the world today. Democratic debate leaves few stones unturned, but we tend to take our basic constitutional structures for granted. Levinson boldly challenges the American people to undertake a long overdue public discussion on how they might best reform this most hallowed document and construct a constitution adequate to our democratic values. "Admirably gutsy and unfashionable." --Michael Kinsley, The New York Times "Bold, bracingly unromantic, and filled with illuminating insights. He accomplishes an unlikely feat, which is to make a really serious argument for a new constitutional convention, one that is founded squarely on democratic ideals." --Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic "Everyone who cares about how our government works should read this thoughtful book." --Washington Lawyer

The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution

Author: Mark V. Tushnet,Sanford Levinson,Mark A. Graber

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0190245751

Category: Constitutional law

Page: 1095

View: 5648

The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution offers a comprehensive overview and introduction to the U.S. Constitution from the perspectives of history, political science, law, rights, and constitutional themes, while focusing on its development, structures, rights, and role in the U.S. political system and culture. This Handbook enables readers within and beyond the U.S. to develop a critical comprehension of the literature on the Constitution, along with accessible and up-to-date analysis. The historical essays included in this Handbook cover the Constitution from 1620 right through the Reagan Revolution to the present. Essays on political science detail how contemporary citizens in the United States rely extensively on political parties, interest groups, and bureaucrats to operate a constitution designed to prevent the rise of parties, interest-group politics and an entrenched bureaucracy. The essays on law explore how contemporary citizens appear to expect and accept the exertions of power by a Supreme Court, whose members are increasingly disconnected from the world of practical politics. Essays on rights discuss how contemporary citizens living in a diverse multi-racial society seek guidance on the meaning of liberty and equality, from a Constitution designed for a society in which all politically relevant persons shared the same race, gender, religion and ethnicity. Lastly, the essays on themes explain how in a "globalized" world, people living in the United States can continue to be governed by a constitution originally meant for a society geographically separated from the rest of the "civilized world." Whether a return to the pristine constitutional institutions of the founding or a translation of these constitutional norms in the present is possible remains the central challenge of U.S. constitutionalism today.

American Sovereigns

The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War

Author: Christian G. Fritz

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781139467179

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 3710

American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War challenges traditional American constitutional history, theory and jurisprudence that sees today's constitutionalism as linked by an unbroken chain to the 1787 Federal constitutional convention. American Sovereigns examines the idea that after the American Revolution, a collectivity - the people - would rule as the sovereign. Heated political controversies within the states and at the national level over what it meant that the people were the sovereign and how that collective sovereign could express its will were not resolved in 1776, in 1787, or prior to the Civil War. The idea of the people as the sovereign both unified and divided Americans in thinking about government and the basis of the Union. Today's constitutionalism is not a natural inheritance, but the product of choices Americans made between shifting understandings about themselves as a collective sovereign.

Framed

America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance

Author: Sanford Levinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199930872

Category: Law

Page: 448

View: 8353

In his widely acclaimed volume Our Undemocratic Constitution, Sanford Levinson boldly argued that our Constitution should not be treated with "sanctimonious reverence," but as a badly flawed document deserving revision. Now Levinson takes us deeper, asking what were the original assumptions underlying our institutions, and whether we accept those assumptions 225 years later. In Framed, Levinson challenges our belief that the most important features of our constitutions concern what rights they protect. Instead, he focuses on the fundamental procedures of governance such as congressional bicameralism; the selection of the President by the electoral college, or the dimensions of the President's veto power--not to mention the near impossibility of amending the United States Constitution. These seemingly "settled" and "hardwired" structures contribute to the now almost universally recognized "dysfunctionality" of American politics. Levinson argues that we should stop treating the United States Constitution as uniquely exemplifying the American constitutional tradition. We should be aware of the 50 state constitutions, often interestingly different--and perhaps better--than the national model. Many states have updated their constitutions by frequent amendment or by complete replacement via state constitutional conventions. California's ungovernable condition has prompted serious calls for a constitutional convention. This constant churn indicates that basic law often reaches the point where it fails and becomes obsolete. Given the experience of so many states, he writes, surely it is reasonable to believe that the U.S. Constitution merits its own updating. Whether we are concerned about making America more genuinely democratic or only about creating a system of government that can more effectively respond to contemporary challenges, we must confront the ways our constitutions, especially the United States Constitution, must be changed in fundamental ways.

The Cosmopolitan Constitution

Author: Alexander Somek

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191030929

Category: Law

Page: 320

View: 9453

Originally the constitution was expected to express and channel popular sovereignty. It was the work of freedom, springing from and facilitating collective self-determination. After the Second World War this perspective changed: the modern constitution owes its authority not only to collective authorship, it also must commit itself credibly to human rights. Thus people recede into the background, and the national constitution becomes embedded into one or other system of 'peer review' among nations. This is what Alexander Somek argues is the creation of the cosmopolitan constitution. Reconstructing what he considers to be the three stages in the development of constitutionalism, he argues that the cosmopolitan constitution is not a blueprint for the constitution beyond the nation state, let alone a constitution of the international community; rather, it stands for constitutional law reaching out beyond its national bounds. This cosmopolitan constitution has two faces: the first, political, face reflects the changed circumstances of constitutional authority. It conceives itself as constrained by international human rights protection, firmly committed to combating discrimination on the grounds of nationality, and to embracing strategies for managing its interaction with other sites of authority, such as the United Nations. The second, administrative, face of the cosmopolitan constitution reveals the demise of political authority, which has been traditionally vested in representative bodies. Political processes yield to various, and often informal, strategies of policy co-ordination so long as there are no reasons to fear that the elementary civil rights might be severely interfered with. It represents constitutional authority for an administered world.

Books on Early American History and Culture, 2001–2005: An Annotated Bibliography

Author: Raymond D. Irwin

Publisher: ABC-CLIO

ISBN: 1440829225

Category: History

Page: 326

View: 2612

This volume offers a complete listing and description of books published on early America between 2001 and 2005. • The book is organized thematically to facilitate research • Extensive author indexes and guides to important works for the time period are provided • The most important books in each subject (e.g., gender, politics) are enumerated based on frequency of citation

Geschichte des Westens

Von den Anfängen in der Antike bis zum 20. Jahrhundert

Author: Heinrich August Winkler

Publisher: C.H.Beck

ISBN: 3406615651

Category: Fiction

Page: 1343

View: 9842

Der Westen – seit dem Zeitalter der Entdeckungen ist er gleichsam das welthistorische Maß aller Dinge. Er hat fremde Reiche erobert und ganze Kontinente unterworfen, die Erde bis in ihre entlegensten Winkel erschlossen, die Naturwissenschaften und die moderne Technik hervorgebracht, die Menschen- und Bürgerrechte, die Herrschaft des Rechts und die Demokratie erfunden. Aber er hat auch oft genug seine Werte verraten, Freiheit gepredigt und Habgier gemeint und mit dem Kapitalismus eine Ökonomisierung aller Lebensverhältnisse entfesselt, die bis heute die Menschheit in Atem hält. In einem grandiosen Panorama erzählt Heinrich August Winkler zum erstenmal überhaupt die Geschichte des Westens – und damit auch die Geschichte unserer eigenen Identität. „Eine Geschichte der westlichen Welt, wie sie hier präsentiert wird, gab es bislang nicht.“ Volker Ullrich, Deutschlandfunk „Dem Berliner Historiker ist mit der ‚Geschichte des Westens’ ein unzeitgemäßes Meisterwerk gelungen.“ Jürgen Osterhammel, Rheinischer Merkur

Dishonorable Passions

Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003

Author: William N. Eskridge Jr.

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1440631107

Category: History

Page: 528

View: 6430

From the Pentagon to the wedding chapel, there are few issues more controversial today than gay rights. As William Eskridge persuasively demonstrates in Dishonorable Passions, there is nothing new about this political and legal obsession. The American colonies and the early states prohibited sodomy as the crime against nature, but rarely punished such conduct if it took place behind closed doors. By the twentieth century, America’s emerging regulatory state targeted degenerates and (later) homosexuals. The witch hunts of the McCarthy era caught very few Communists but ruined the lives of thousands of homosexuals. The nation’s sexual revolution of the 1960s fueled a social movement of people seeking repeal of sodomy laws, but it was not until the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that private sex between consenting adults was decriminalized. With dramatic stories of both the hunted (Walt Whitman and Margaret Mead) and the hunters (Earl Warren and J. Edgar Hoover), Dishonorable Passions reveals how American sodomy laws affected the lives of both homosexual and heterosexual Americans. Certain to provoke heated debate, Dishonorable Passions is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of sexuality and its regulation in the United States

The Complete American Constitutionalism, Volume One

Introduction and the Colonial Era

Author: Howard Gillman,Mark A. Graber,Keith E. Whittington

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0190237627

Category: Law

Page: 576

View: 8233

The Complete American Constitutionalism is designed to be the comprehensive treatment and source for debates on the American constitutional experience. It provides the analysis, resources, and materials both domestic and foreign readers must understand with regards to the practice of constitutionalism in the United States. This first volume of a projected eight volume set is entitled: Introduction and The Colonial Era. Here the authors provide the building blocks for constitutional analysis with an in-depth exploration of the constitutional conflicts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that formed the overall American constitutional experience. This is the first collection of materials that focuses on the crucial constitutional documents and debates that structured American constitutional understandings at the time of the American Revolution. It details the roots of the common law rights that Americans demanded be respected and the different interpretations of the English constitutional experience that increasingly divided Members of Parliament from American Revolutionaries.

Patterns of Constitutional Design

The Role of Citizens and Elites in Constitution-Making

Author: Dr Fernando Mendez,Dr Jonathan Wheatley

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 147240775X

Category: Political Science

Page: 202

View: 4947

To what extent does the constitution-making process matter? By focusing on three central aspects of constitution-making; the nature of the constitution-making body, how it reaches decisions and the way in which a new constitution is legitimized and by examining a wide range of case studies, this international collection from expert contributors provides answers to this crucial question. Bridging the gap between law and political science this book draws together divergent research on the role of constitution making in conflict resolution, constitutional law and democratization and employs a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to unfold and explore the political frameworks of the states affected. Comparative analysis is used to investigate potential causal chains between constitution-making processes and their outcomes in terms of stability, conflict resolution and democracy. By focusing on both procedure and context, the book explores the impact of constitution-making procedures in new and established states and unions in Europe, South America and Africa.

The Oxford Handbook of Economic and Institutional Transparency

Author: Jens Forssbaeck,Lars Oxelheim

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199394830

Category: Political Science

Page: 624

View: 2955

In recent years, the term 'transparency' has emerged as one of the most popular and keenly-touted concepts around. In the economic-political debate, the principle of transparency is often advocated as a prerequisite for accountability, legitimacy, policy efficiency, and good governance, as well as a universal remedy against corruption, corporate and political scandals, financial crises, and a host of other problems. But transparency is more than a mere catch-phrase. Increased transparency is a bearing ideal behind regulatory reform in many areas, including financial reporting and banking regulation. Individual governments as well as multilateral bodies have launched broad-based initiatives to enhance transparency in both economic and other policy domains. Parallel to these developments, the concept of transparency has seeped its way into academic research in a wide range of social science disciplines, including the economic sciences. This increased importance of transparency in economics and business studies has called for a reference work that surveys existing research on transparency and explores its meaning and significance in different areas. The Oxford Handbook of Economic and Institutional Transparency is such a reference. Comprised of authoritative yet accessible contributions by leading scholars, this Handbook addresses questions such as: What is transparency? What is the rationale for transparency? What are the determinants and the effects of transparency? And is transparency always beneficial, or can it also be detrimental (if so, when)? The chapters are presented in three sections that correspond to three broad themes. The first section addresses transparency in different areas of economic policy. The second section covers institutional transparency and explores the role of transparency in market integration and regulation. Finally, the third section focuses on corporate transparency. Taken together, this volume offers an up-to-date account of existing work on and approaches to transparency in economic research, discusses open questions, and provides guidance for future research, all from a blend of disciplinary perspectives.

Religion in America

A Political History

Author: Denis Lacorne

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231526407

Category: Religion

Page: 256

View: 4118

Denis Lacorne identifies two competing narratives defining the American identity. The first narrative, derived from the philosophy of the Enlightenment, is essentially secular. Associated with the Founding Fathers and reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers, this line of reasoning is predicated on separating religion from politics to preserve political freedom from an overpowering church. Prominent thinkers such as Voltaire, Thomas Paine, and Jean-Nicolas Démeunier, who viewed the American project as a radical attempt to create a new regime free from religion and the weight of ancient history, embraced this American effort to establish a genuine "wall of separation" between church and state. The second narrative is based on the premise that religion is a fundamental part of the American identity and emphasizes the importance of the original settlement of America by New England Puritans. This alternative vision was elaborated by Whig politicians and Romantic historians in the first half of the nineteenth century. It is still shared by modern political scientists such as Samuel Huntington. These thinkers insist America possesses a core, stable "Creed" mixing Protestant and republican values. Lacorne outlines the role of religion in the making of these narratives and examines, against this backdrop, how key historians, philosophers, novelists, and intellectuals situate religion in American politics.

Courts and Consociations

Human Rights versus Power-Sharing

Author: Christopher McCrudden,Brendan O'Leary

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019166538X

Category: Law

Page: 216

View: 9813

Consociations are power-sharing arrangements, increasingly used to manage ethno-nationalist, ethno-linguistic, and ethno-religious conflicts. Current examples include Belgium, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Burundi, and Iraq. Despite their growing popularity, they have begun to be challenged before human rights courts as being incompatible with human rights norms, particularly equality and non-discrimination. Courts and Consociations examines the use of power-sharing agreements, their legitimacy, and their compatibility with human rights law. Key questions include to what extent, if any, consociations conflict with the liberal individualist preferences of international human rights institutions, and to what extent consociational power-sharing may be justified to preserve peace and the integrity of political settlements. In three critical cases, the European Court of Human Rights has considered equality challenges to important consociational practices, twice in Belgium and then in Sejdic and Finci v Bosnia regarding the constitution established for Bosnia Herzegovina under the Dayton Agreement. The Court's decision in Sejdic and Finci has significantly altered the approach it previously took to judicial review of consociational arrangements in Belgium. This book accounts for this change and assess its implications. The problematic aspects of the current state of law are demonstrated. Future negotiators in places riven by potential or actual bloody ethnic conflicts may now have less flexibility in reaching a workable settlement, which may unintentionally contribute to sustaining such conflicts and make it more likely that negotiators will consider excluding regional and international courts from reviewing these political settlements. Providing a clear, accessible introduction to both the political use of power-sharing settlements and the human rights law on the issue, this book is an invaluable guide to all academics, students, and professionals engaged with transitional justice, peace agreements, and contemporary human rights law.

The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams

Author: Phyllis Lee Levin

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1137474629

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 544

View: 5427

A patriot by birth, John Quincy Adams's destiny was foreordained. He was not only "The Greatest Traveler of His Age," but his country's most gifted linguist and most experienced diplomat. John Quincy's world encompassed the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the early and late Napoleonic Age. As his diplomat father's adolescent clerk and secretary, he met everyone who was anyone in Europe, including America's own luminaries and founding fathers, Franklin and Jefferson. All this made coming back to America a great challenge. But though he was determined to make his own career he was soon embarked, at Washington's appointment, on his phenomenal work abroad, as well as on a deeply troubled though loving and enduring marriage. But through all the emotional turmoil, he dedicated his life to serving his country. At 50, he returned to America to serve as Secretary of State to President Monroe. He was inaugurated President in 1824, after which he served as a stirring defender of the slaves of the Amistad rebellion and as a member of the House of Representatives from 1831 until his death in 1848. In The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams, Phyllis Lee Levin provides the deeply researched and beautifully written definitive biography of one of the most fascinating and towering early Americans.