America and Enlightenment Constitutionalism

America and Enlightenment Constitutionalism

by Johnathan O'Neill
     
 

America and Enlightenment Constitutionalism shows in detail the Enlightenment origin of the U.S. Constitution. It provides vivid analysis of how the Enlightenment's basic ideas were reformulated in the context of America. It is particularly successful in bringing out the competing strains of Enlightenment thought and of articulating crucial Enlightenment

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Overview

America and Enlightenment Constitutionalism shows in detail the Enlightenment origin of the U.S. Constitution. It provides vivid analysis of how the Enlightenment's basic ideas were reformulated in the context of America. It is particularly successful in bringing out the competing strains of Enlightenment thought and of articulating crucial Enlightenment concepts of public opinion, equality, public reason, legislature and judiciary, revolution, law, and the people in their American context. The collection is timely given contemporary debates between republicans and liberals about constitutional interpretation which are addressed throughout.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In a provincial city near a rude frontier, the American founders designed a form of republican government that enabled their distant outpost to become the mightiest polity since ancient Rome. Not mere fortune but a science of politics made this happen; not prayer alone, but enlightenment. The able authors of this diverse set of essays explain and exemplify the learning behind American constitutionalism, not as historical curiosity, but as living knowledge. In the spirit of enlightenment, their perspective on the Founding is reflective rather than celebratory—respectful of the Founders' achievement, but not afraid to criticize what enlightenment itself has become. There is much to ponder here, and much to admire."
—James R. Stoner, Jr., Professor of Political Science, Louisiana State University
"O'Neill and McDowell have brought together elegant essays by leading authorities that convincingly reveal the profound impact of the Enlightenment on the drafting of the American Constitution. These essays demonstrate that the Framers' emphasis on natural rights and equality, their reliance on constitutional structure to secure liberty, and their faith that good government could be established on 'reflection and choice' all stemmed from the spirit of free inquiry and innovation that the Enlightenment imbued in them."

—Ralph A. Rossum, Salvatori Professor of American Constitutionalism, Claremont McKenna College
"This collection of essays by leading scholars of American political thought provides a penetrating and timely reassessment of the enduring philosophical foundations of America's unique contribution to modern constitutionalism."

—Herman Belz, Professor of History, University of Maryland

"Original and invigorating."
—David Peddle, Memorial University, Newfoundland (Canada)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781403972361
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
09/19/2006
Series:
Studies of the Americas Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

Meet the Author

Johnathan O'Neill is Assistant Professor of History at Georgia Southern University, and the author of Originalism in American Law and Politics: A Constitutional History (2005).Gary McDowell is Professor, Jepson School of Leadership, University of Richmond.

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