The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy

Author: Bruce ACKERMAN

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674020057

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 1868

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.
Posted in History

The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy

Author: Bruce A. Ackerman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674018662

Category: History

Page: 384

View: 1616

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

The Failure of the Founding Fathers

Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy

Author: Bruce ACKERMAN

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674023956

Category: History

Page: 396

View: 8408

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.
Posted in History

The Decline and Fall of the American Republic

Author: Bruce Ackerman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674058399

Category: History

Page: 280

View: 6671

Constitutional thought is currently dominated by heroic tales of the Founding Fathers — who built an Enlightenment machine that can tick-tock its way into the twenty-first century, with a little fine-tuning by the Supreme Court. However, according to Bruce Ackerman, the modern presidency is far more dangerous today than it was when Arthur Schlesinger published the Imperial Presidency in 1973. In this book, he explores how the interaction of changes in the party system, mass communications, the bureaucracy, and the military have made the modern presidency too powerful and a threat to liberal constitutionalism and democracy. Ackerman argues that the principles of constitutional legitimacy have been undermined by both political and legal factors. On the political level, by “government by emergency” and “government by public-opinion poll”; on the legal, by two rising institutions: The Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and the Office of the Presidential Counsel in the White House. Both institutions came out of the New Deal, but have gained prominence only in the last generation. Lastly, Ackerman kicks off a reform debate that aims to adapt the Founding ideal of checks-and-balances to twenty-first century realities. His aim is not to propose definitive solutions but to provoke a national debate on American democracy in its time of trouble.
Posted in History

Andrew Jackson and the Constitution

The Rise and Fall of Generational Regimes

Author: Gerard N. Magliocca

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780700617869

Category: History

Page: 186

View: 9566

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.
Posted in History

Revolution by Judiciary

The Structure of American Constitutional Law

Author: Jed Rubenfeld

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674017153

Category: Law

Page: 241

View: 1653

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.
Posted in Law

Reassessing the Presidency

The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom

Author: David Gordon,Thomas J. DiLorenzo,Thomas E. Woods, Jr,Yuri N. Maltsev,Ralph Raico,Paul Gottfried,Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute

ISBN: 1610166140

Category:

Page: 791

View: 5479

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.

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The Price of Greatness

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and the Creation of American Oligarchy

Author: Jay Cost

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 1541697480

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 3242

An incisive account of the tumultuous relationship between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and of the origins of our wealthy yet highly unequal nation In the history of American politics there are few stories as enigmatic as that of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison's bitterly personal falling out. Together they helped bring the Constitution into being, yet soon after the new republic was born they broke over the meaning of its founding document. Hamilton emphasized economic growth, Madison the importance of republican principles. Jay Cost is the first to argue that both men were right--and that their quarrel reveals a fundamental paradox at the heart of the American experiment. He shows that each man in his own way came to accept corruption as a necessary cost of growth. The Price of Greatness reveals the trade-off that made the United States the richest nation in human history, and that continues to fracture our politics to this day.
Posted in History

We the People, Volume 2

Transformations

Author: Bruce Ackerman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674736621

Category: History

Page: 538

View: 3034

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.
Posted in History

Dominion of Memories

Jefferson, Madison, and the Decline of Virginia

Author: Susan Dunn

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465006795

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 3459

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.
Posted in History

We the People, Volume 3

The Civil Rights Revolution

Author: Bruce Ackerman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 067441649X

Category: Law

Page: 432

View: 5975

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.
Posted in Law

Packing the Court

The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court

Author: James Macgregor Burns

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101081902

Category: Political Science

Page: 336

View: 5363

From renowned political theorist James MacGregor Burns, an incisive critique of the overreaching power of an ideological Supreme Court For decades, Pulitzer Prize-winner James MacGregor Burns has been one of the great masters of the study of power and leadership in America. In Packing the Court, he turns his eye to the U.S. Supreme Court, an institution that he believes has become more powerful, and more partisan, than the founding fathers ever intended. In a compelling and provocative narrative, Burns reveals how the Supreme Court has served as a reactionary force in American politics at critical moments throughout the nation's history, and concludes with a bold proposal to rein in the court's power.
Posted in Political Science

We the People, Volume 2

Transformations

Author: Bruce Ackerman

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674003977

Category: History

Page: 528

View: 431

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.
Posted in History

Recapturing the Oval Office

New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency

Author: Brian Balogh,Bruce J. Schulman

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 1501700871

Category: Political Science

Page: 320

View: 1900

Several generations of historians figuratively abandoned the Oval Office as the bastion of out-of-fashion stories of great men. And now, decades later, the historical analysis of the American presidency remains on the outskirts of historical scholarship, even as policy and political history have rebounded within the academy. In Recapturing the Oval Office, leading historians and social scientists forge an agenda for returning the study of the presidency to the mainstream practice of history and they chart how the study of the presidency can be integrated into historical narratives that combine rich analyses of political, social, and cultural history. The authors demonstrate how "bringing the presidency back in" can deepen understanding of crucial questions regarding race relations, religion, and political economy. The contributors illuminate the conditions that have both empowered and limited past presidents, and thus show how social, cultural, and political contexts matter. By making the history of the presidency a serious part of the scholarly agenda in the future, historians have the opportunity to influence debates about the proper role of the president today. Contributors: Brian Balogh, University of Virginia; Michael A. Bernstein, Tulane University; Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Purdue University; N. D. B. Connolly, The Johns Hopkins University; Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut; Gareth Davies, University of Oxford; Darren Dochuk, Washington University; Susan J. Douglas, University of Michigan; Daniel J. Galvin, Northwestern University; William I. Hitchcock, University of Virginia; Cathie Jo Martin, Boston University; Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara; Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University; Robert O. Self, Brown University; Stephen Skowronek, Yale University
Posted in Political Science

Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy

The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History

Author: Keith E. Whittington

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400827752

Category: Law

Page: 320

View: 1934

Should the Supreme Court have the last word when it comes to interpreting the Constitution? The justices on the Supreme Court certainly seem to think so--and their critics say that this position threatens democracy. But Keith Whittington argues that the Court's justices have not simply seized power and circumvented politics. The justices have had power thrust upon them--by politicians, for the benefit of politicians. In this sweeping political history of judicial supremacy in America, Whittington shows that presidents and political leaders of all stripes have worked to put the Court on a pedestal and have encouraged its justices to accept the role of ultimate interpreters of the Constitution. Whittington examines why presidents have often found judicial supremacy to be in their best interest, why they have rarely assumed responsibility for interpreting the Constitution, and why constitutional leadership has often been passed to the courts. The unprecedented assertiveness of the Rehnquist Court in striking down acts of Congress is only the most recent example of a development that began with the founding generation itself. Presidential bids for constitutional leadership have been rare, but reflect the temporary political advantage in doing so. Far more often, presidents have cooperated in increasing the Court's power and encouraging its activism. Challenging the conventional wisdom that judges have usurped democracy, Whittington shows that judicial supremacy is the product of democratic politics.
Posted in Law

The Great Chief Justice

John Marshall and the Rule of Law

Author: Charles F. Hobson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 2457

"John Marshall remains one of the towering figures in the landscape of American law. From the Revolution to the age of Jackson, he played a critical role in defining the "province of the judiciary" and the constitutional limits of legislative action. In this masterly study, Charles Hobson clarifies the coherence and thrust of Marshall's jurisprudence while keeping in sight the man as well as the jurist." "Hobson argues that contrary to his critics, Marshall was no ideologue intent upon appropriating the lawmaking powers of Congress. Rather, he was deeply committed to a principled jurisprudence that was based on a steadfast devotion to a "science of law" richly steeped in the common law tradition. As Hobson shows, such jurisprudence governed every aspect of Marshall's legal philosophy and court opinions, including his understanding of judicial review." "The chief justice, Hobson contends, did not invent judicial review (as many have claimed) but consolidated its practice by adapting common law methods to the needs of a new nation. In practice, his use of judicial review was restrained, employed almost exclusively against acts of the state legislatures. Ultimately, he wielded judicial review to prevent the states from undermining the power of a national government still struggling to establish sovereignty at home and respect abroad."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Posted in Biography & Autobiography

Keeping Faith with the Constitution

Author: Goodwin Liu,Pamela S. Karlan,Christopher H. Schroeder

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199752836

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 8623

Chief Justice John Marshall argued that a constitution "requires that only its great outlines should be marked [and] its important objects designated." Ours is "intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs." In recent years, Marshall's great truths have been challenged by proponents of originalism and strict construction. Such legal thinkers as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argue that the Constitution must be construed and applied as it was when the Framers wrote it. In Keeping Faith with the Constitution, three legal authorities make the case for Marshall's vision. They describe their approach as "constitutional fidelity"--not to how the Framers would have applied the Constitution, but to the text and principles of the Constitution itself. The original understanding of the text is one source of interpretation, but not the only one; to preserve the meaning and authority of the document, to keep it vital, applications of the Constitution must be shaped by precedent, historical experience, practical consequence, and societal change. The authors range across the history of constitutional interpretation to show how this approach has been the source of our greatest advances, from Brown v. Board of Education to the New Deal, from the Miranda decision to the expansion of women's rights. They delve into the complexities of voting rights, the malapportionment of legislative districts, speech freedoms, civil liberties and the War on Terror, and the evolution of checks and balances. The Constitution's framers could never have imagined DNA, global warming, or even women's equality. Yet these and many more realities shape our lives and outlook. Our Constitution will remain vital into our changing future, the authors write, if judges remain true to this rich tradition of adaptation and fidelity.
Posted in Political Science

Roosevelt's Lost Alliances

How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War

Author: Frank Costigliola

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691157928

Category: History

Page: 533

View: 5372

Shows how Franklin D. Roosevelt alienated his inner circle of advisors as he built an alliance between him, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin, an alliance that eroded when Harry Truman took the presidency after Roosevelt's death, eventually leading to the Cold War.
Posted in History

James Madison

A Biography

Author: Ralph Louis Ketcham

Publisher: University of Virginia Press

ISBN: 9780813912653

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 753

View: 4355

The best one volume biography of Madison’s life, Ketcham’s biography not only traces Madison’s career, it gives readers a sense of the man. As Madison said of his early years in Virginia under the study of Donald Robertson, who introduced him to thinkers like Montaigne and Montesquieu, "all that I have been in life I owe largely to that man." It also captures a side of Madison that is less rarely on display (including a portrait of the beautiful Dolley Madison).
Posted in Biography & Autobiography

Jefferson's Freeholders and the Politics of Ownership in the Old Dominion

Author: Christopher Michael Curtis

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107017408

Category: History

Page: 255

View: 2082

Jefferson's Freeholders explores the processes by which Virginia was transformed from a British colony into a Southern slave state. Focusing on ideas of ownership, the book emphasizes the persistent influence of English common law on the state's political culture. It uniquely details how the traditional principles of land tenure were subverted by the economic and political changes of the nineteenth century and how they fostered law reforms that encouraged the idea that slavery should replace land ownership as the distinguishing basis for political power.
Posted in History