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Federalism: The Founders' Design Hardcover – July 1, 1987

ISBN-13: 978-0806120591 ISBN-10: 0806120592 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 223 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; 1st edition (July 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806120592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806120591
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian on May 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is simply awesome. Here, Raoul Berger focuses his in-depth analysis and attention toward the history and the original understanding of Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution -- the powers of Congress. His conclusion is an inconvenient truth: most of the federal government under which we live is simply unconstitutional.

Berger first explains the relationship between the federal government and the states. The states -- that is, the peoples of the states -- preexisted the system and created the federal government. In other words, Berger provides powerful evidence that the Jeffersonian compact theory is correct.

The powers the states were supposed to have retained for themselves are truly amazing. Berger explains in great detail the original meaning of the "necessary and proper," "supremacy," and "general welfare" clauses, along with the 10th Amendment. The most fascinating part of the book for me was the in-depth analysis of the commerce clause. The intended power of Congress to regulate commercial trade between a state and another state is much more limited than one could expect; certainly far removed from what Congress is allowed to get away with today. Berger goes on to shred apart the majority opinion of Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (1985) which declared that a local mass transit system within a state can be regulated by the federal government via the interstate "commerce" clause.

This short but information-packed book is a classic, and is highly recommended for anyone curious about the true meaning of the Constitution. The insights about the intended meaning of the "commerce" clause were my favorite. This is required reading for originalism scholars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Slippy on March 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Raoul Berger does a FANTASTIC job of reporting things from the founders own words. His book is bibliographically complete, to the point of leaving the reader with all the sources they could possibly want to back up any claim that he has made. I think that was one of the things that I liked about this book. Most of his sources were readily verifiable because most of them were free on the net because they are over 100 years old and have no copyright anymore. Though the reader might find the book dry, it is extremely informative for the history buff or the political student who wants to truly understand what our Constitution set up as far as government.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Setliff on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
~Federalism: The Founders' Design~ by Raoul Berger is an intellectually rigorous and accurate exposition of original intent, the compact nature of the Union, and dual federalism. Raoul Berger, an honest liberal, made the diligent effort to recover original intent, for as John Taylor held, "there are lights toward true construction." Professor Berger is the leading force behind the jurisprudential philosophy known as original intention. Strict constructionist philosophy commands judges to strictly construe the written law. Original intent binds judges to the supreme law, the Constitution. James Madison accurately surmised, "...the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it received all the authority which it possesses." In point of emphasis, "all the authority which it possesses."
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