Video: Charity 102

Charity 102
with James R Stoner, Jr

I. Introduction: Whose Constitution?

II. Federalism

III. Separation of Powers

IV. Rights

V. Republicanism

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I.          Introduction: Whose Constitution?

On the Constitutional Convention and the Founding, many books have been written and are readily available.  Here is a good web resource:

For an overview of research on the origins of the Constitution, see Alan Gibson, Interpreting the Founding: Guide to the Enduring Debates over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic, 2nd ed. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2010) 

On the people as the author of the Constitution, see Larry Kramer, The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); and my chapter, “Who Has Authority over the Constitution of the United States?” in Steven Kautz, Arthur Melzer, Jerry Weinberger, and M. Richard Zinman, eds., The Supreme Court and the Idea of Constitutionalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), pp. 95-111, 270-272.

II.        Federalism

See Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, The Federalist, esp. ##9, 10, 14, 15, 39, 45.  My interpretation of The Federalist is developed in “The New Constitutionalism of Publius,” in Bryan-Paul Frost & Jeffrey Sikkenga, eds., History of American Political Thought (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003), pp. 230-247.

On the origins of American federalism and some early disputes, see Forrest McDonald, States’ Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776-1876 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002).  On the modern crisis in federal-state relations, see Robert Nagel, The Implosion of American Federalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), and Michael Greve, Real Federalism: Why It Matters, How It Could Happen (Washington: AEI Press, 1999).  For a discussion of constitutionalism in the states, see The American State Constitutional Tradition (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006). 

III.       Separation of Powers

See The Federalist, esp. ##47-51, 55-57, 62, 70, 78; and my article cited above.

Most of political science writing on Congress in recent years stresses what one scholar calls the “electoral connection” rather than the constitutional dimensions of the institution.  For the sources of executive power, see Harvey Mansfield, Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (New York: Free Press, 1989).  The books mentioned in the biography above give my reading of the origins of judicial power in English common law; the second book includes a bibliographic essay with further readings mentioned.  See also the work of Walter Berns, Taking the Constitution Seriously (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987).

IV.       Rights

The standard work is now Akhil Reed Amar, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), but my account differs in perspective, as I think most of our rights predate the “creation” of the instrument.  See my Common-Law Liberty, referenced above, and for a complementary view, Michael Zuckert, The Natural Rights Republic (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996).  For a study of the role of the states in protecting rights in the early years of the republic, see John Dinan, Keeping the People’s Liberties (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1998).  For an older critique of modern rights litigation see Richard Morgan, Disabling America: The “Rights Industry” in Our Time (New York: Basic Books, 1986).

V.        Republicanism

A few general scholarly works on the Constitution and its interpretation are George Thomas, The Madisonian Constitution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008); Keith Whittington, Constitutional Interpretation (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999); Johnathan O’Neill, Originalism in American Law and Politics (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).   The grand tome on republicanism is Paul Rahe, Republicanism Ancient and Modern (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).

Finally, a handy citizens’ reference on the Constitution which displays the republican spirit is Edwin Meese, Matthew Spalding, and David Forte, eds., The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (Washington: Regnery, 2005).  See also Matthew Spalding, We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2009.

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