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Living Constitution Or Fundamental Law? / Edition 1

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Overview

In A Living Constitution or Fundamental Law?, distinguished scholar Herman Belz considers the concept of constitutionalism as the subject matter of constitutional history. Belz argues that the study of constitutionalism should be interdisciplinary, requiring the insights and methods of history, political science, and jurisprudence. Belz illuminates the evolution of American constitutionalism across the span of American history, from the Founding to Reconstruction to the Cold War and the rise of the bureaucratic state in the 1980s.

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Editorial Reviews

Virginia Quarterly Review
A wonderful addition to constitutional studies.
The Historian
Belz offers some significant insights into the debates over constitutionalism. This is a solid work of scholarship and imagination. Putting essays together with a useful introduction has produced a valuable history of a current controversy that is as old as the Constitution itself.
The Law and Politics Book Review
Herman Belz has been writing influential works in constitutional history for several decades now, and he has here collected nine of his previously published essays, along with new introductory and concluding chapters. [Belz] address[s] a wide range of topics in constitutional history, including the founding; the rise and decline of 'constitutional realism' during the gilded age, the Progressive era, and the Cold War; 'the New Left attack on constitutionalism' during the 1960's; and the debates over constitutional history in the 1980's. The central organizing theme is what Belz characterizes as a cyclical struggle between written and unwritten conceptions of constitutionalism. A particular strength of Belz's essays is a sustained effort to take seriously the relative autonomy of law from the social and political forces and the role of the constitutional norms in American political development. . . .
— Tom Keck, Department of Political Science, University of Oklahoma
CHOICE, Vol. 36, No. 7 - D. Schultz
Belz's highly readable and intelligent examination of the shifting meanings attached to constitutions demonstrates that the study of them has changed from 1787 through the Progressive Era, into World War II, and in the latter half of the 20th century. . . .A solid addition to collections on American History and constitutional law.
James Carl Duram
This work is certainly the best researched, most comprehensive work on American constitutionalism to date.
The Law and Politics Book Review - Tom Keck
Herman Belz has been writing influential works in constitutional history for several decades now, and he has here collected nine of his previously published essays, along with new introductory and concluding chapters. [Belz] address[s] a wide range of topics in constitutional history, including the founding; the rise and decline of 'constitutional realism' during the gilded age, the Progressive era, and the Cold War; 'the New Left attack on constitutionalism' during the 1960's; and the debates over constitutional history in the 1980's. The central organizing theme is what Belz characterizes as a cyclical struggle between written and unwritten conceptions of constitutionalism. A particular strength of Belz's essays is a sustained effort to take seriously the relative autonomy of law from the social and political forces and the role of the constitutional norms in American political development. . . .
Choice
Belz's highly readable and intelligent examination of the shifting meanings attached to constitutions demonstrates that the study of them has changed from 1787 through the Progressive Era, into World War II, and in the latter half of the 20th century. . . .A solid addition to collections on American History and constitutional law.
James Carl Duram
This work is certainly the best researched, most comprehensive work on American constitutionalism to date.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847686438
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Belz is professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development, Equality Transformed: A Quarter Century of Affirmative Action, and Emancipation and Equal Rights: Politics and Constitutionalism in the Civil War Era, among other works.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Written Constitutionalism as the American Project Chapter 2 Constitutionalism and the American Founding Chapter 3 Constitutional Realism in the Gilded Age Chapter 4 The Critique of Constitutionalism in the Progressive Era Chapter 5 Andrew C. McLaughlin and the Defense of Constitutionalism Chapter 6 Changing Conceptions of Constitutionalism in the Era of World War II and the Cold War Chapter 7 The New Left Attack on Constitutionalism Chapter 8 Bureaucracy and Constitutionalism Chapter 9 Constitutional and Legal History in the 1980s: Reflections on American Constitutionalism Chapter 10 History, Theory and the Constitution Chapter 11 The Originalist Challenge to the Living Constitution Chapter 12 Index

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