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Imagine, for a preposterous moment, that 55 national leaders convened to write a document to guide the country for hundreds of years. It seems unlikely--given that our current contingent of so-called leaders can't agree on how to balance a checkbook--that they could reach consensus on such issues as the allotment of congressional seats. The political and ideological issues that faced the creators of the Constitution were similar in some ways to those at play today. And in some ways they were vastly different ones. Jack Rakove, a history professor at Stanford University, has in this book framed the process that led to the drafting of the constitution in its historical and political context to offer insight into the difficulty of interpreting that most influential of documents. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Legal conservatives periodically call for judicial decisions based on an interpretation of the Constitution that accords with the "original intent" of those who wrote and ratified it. That's a vexed matter, as Stanford University historian Rakove (The Beginnings of National Politics) shows in this nuanced reconstruction of constitutional debates. First, he explores the difficulty of even divining the understanding of the framers. He goes on to explore James Madison's vital theorizing about federalism, the compromises involved in granting states equal Senate seats and counting slaves in the population, the concept of the Presidency and the adoption of the Bill of Rights. Rakove suggests that the country's political future?whether oriented toward the statehouses or the national capital?depends less on the framers and their constitutional language than on the actions of the American people in the framework that has been created. Moreover, he warns that even Madison's contemporary appeal to originalism was hardly a posture of neutrality. This detailed book will appeal most to students and scholars.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Not a light read and one that requires some understanding of late 18th century language and thought, but well the effort for an appreciation of just how experimental this new... Read morePublished 1 month ago by jbrw
A thoughtful meditation on the convoluted process of constitution making, Original Meanings speaks to modern debates over "originalism," the theory that the Constitution... Read morePublished 3 months ago by courtandconstitution
This is the first of the books Rakove has written linking the ideas in the Constitution to the beginnings of American politics and the contentions that fed its fire. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Frederick Cullison
I got this one on the strength of Rakove's C-span interview with Brian Lamb on Booknotes. Prof Rakove was witty, amusing and a great interview. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Pkneeno
VERY poorly written and difficult to follow. It was so disorganized, that I don't know much more than I did before slogging through the book, and I have collage degree in history!Published 13 months ago by donalds
Somewhat of a difficult read but very informative. Bought as recommended reading for a course on Congress & the Constitution. Read morePublished 22 months ago by nbgal57
We need to protect our 2nd amendment rights. The framers wanted us to have our gun rights but the liberals are trying to take it away. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Little Domin