The Constitution in Congress: The Jeffersonians, 1801-1829 / Edition 2by David P. Currie
Pub. Date: 05/28/2001
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Because of the judicial branch's tremendous success in reviewing legislative and executive action in the United States, legal scholars have traditionally looked mostly to the courts for guidance in interpreting the Constitution. This, the second book in David P. Currie's series, looks to the legislative and executive branches-whose members swear to uphold the… See more details below
Because of the judicial branch's tremendous success in reviewing legislative and executive action in the United States, legal scholars have traditionally looked mostly to the courts for guidance in interpreting the Constitution. This, the second book in David P. Currie's series, looks to the legislative and executive branches-whose members swear to uphold the Constitution just as judges do-for insights into the development of constitutional interpretation.
Having examined the Federalist period in the previous volume, Currie now turns to the period of Republican hegemony from the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson in 1801 to the inauguration of Andrew Jackson in 1829. During this time Republicans, mostly Virginians, occupied the President's House, and their party dominated Congress. Many benchmark issues were decided during this time of great leadership and controversy-the abolition of the new Circuit Courts, the Louisiana Purchase, the Burr conspiracy, the War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine, and the Missouri Compromise. These issues, and many others, became constitutional controversies, as politicians sought to apply the broad principles laid out in the constitution to concrete, often unforeseen, events. As Currie shows, they were fought out almost exclusively in the legislative and executive arenas, not in the courts.
Although federal judges began to contribute more significantly to the interpretation of the constitution, their decisions were commonly based on the extensive discussions that had taken place in the legislative and executive branches. "And even today," Currie writes, "it is not to the courts that we owe our understanding of the constitutional issues surrounding the Louisiana Purchase, the impeachment of Justice Chase, or the Cumberland Road."
With its unique perspective and comprehensive coverage, The Constitution in Congress illustrates how the executive and legislative branches matched the Supreme Court in putting flesh and blood onto the skeleton of the Constitution.
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Table of Contents
Abbreviations and Shortened Titles
Part One: President Jefferson, 1801-1809
1. The Most Endangered Branch
2. The Twelfth Amendment
5. Enemies at Home and Abroad
Part Two: Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, 1809-1829
7. Rumors of War
9. The American System
10. More about Congressional Powers
11. Ultimate Questions
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States
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