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Now widely regarded as the best available guide to the study of the Founding, the first edition of Interpreting the Founding provided summaries and analyses of the leading interpretive frameworks that have guided the study of the Founding since the publication of Charles Beard's An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution in 1913. For this new edition, Gibson has revised and updated his study, including his comprehensive bibliography, and also added a new concluding chapter on the "Unionist Paradigm" or "Federalist Interpretation" of the Constitution.
As in the original work, Gibson argues in the new edition that scholarship on the Founding is no longer steered by a single dominant approach or even by a set of questions that control its direction. He features insightful extended discussions of pioneering works by leading scholars of the Founding—including Louis Hartz, Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood, and Garry Wills—that best exemplify different schools of interpretation. He focuses on six approaches that have dominated the modern study of the Founding-Progressive, Lockean/liberal, Republican, Scottish Enlightenment, multicultural, and multiple traditions approaches—before concluding with the Unionist or Federalist paradigm. For each approach, Gibson traces its fundamental assumptions, revealing deeper ideological and methodological differences between schools of thought that, on the surface, seem to differ only about the interpretation of historical facts.
While previous accounts have treated the study of the Founding as the sequential replacement of one paradigm by another, Gibson argues that all of these interpretations survive as alternative and still viable approaches. By examining the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and showing how each has simultaneously illuminated and masked core truths about the American Founding, he renders a balanced account of the continuing and very vigorous debate over the origins and foundations of the American republic.
Brimming with intellectual vigor and a based on both a wide and deep reading in the voluminous literature on the subject, Gibson's new edition is sure to reinforce this remarkable book's reputation while winning new converts to his argument.
Relevant Sections of and Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
Part 1 Structure
1. Qualifications for President, Michael Nelson
2. Designing the Electoral College, Shlomo Slonim
3. Presidential Term, Tenure and Reeligibility, Thomas E. Cronin
4. Presidential Impeachment, John R. Labovitz
Part 2 Powers
5. The President's War-Making Power, David Gray Adler
6. The President's Veto Power, Robert J. Spitzer
7. The President's Executive Power, Thomas E. Cronin
8. The President's Pardon Power, David Gray Adler
9. The President's "Prerogative Power", Robert Scigliano
Part 3 Precedents
10. George Washington: Precedent Setter, Glenn A. Phelps
11. Alexander Hamilton and the Presidency, John C. Koritansky
12. John Adams and the Presidency, Bruce Miroff
13. Thomas Jefferson and the Presidency, Gary J. Schmitt
14. James Madison and the Presidency, Ralph Ketcham
Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Essays on the Executive, Numbers 69-73
Posted April 28, 2010
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