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Reconstructing the Commercial Republic: Constitutional Design after Madison Hardcover – July 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews


"A thoughtful and well-informed consideration of US government in relation to American society."
(Ian Harris Political Studies Review)

"In this erudite, amiable, and provocative work, the political theorist Stephen Elkin presents a political rather than a juridical conception of American constitutionalism. . . . Elkin describes his position as one of  'radical conservatism.' His admiration and respect for the achievement of Madison and the Founders is clear. Moreover, the scholarship in this book is richly informed by close attention to the classic texts in Western political philosophy."
(Herman Belz Weekly Standard)

"Since he emerged as one of the most prominent and interesting constitutional theorists of the present generation, [Elkin] has seemingly been consumed with asking the types of questions so many lesser academics are uncomfortable asking. . . . Reconstructing the Commercial Republic is his latest act of courage. It is also his best work to date. Indeed, the volume represents Elkin's most comprehensive analysis of the current state of America's commercial republic, a republic, he laments, that is at best misfi ring and at worst altogether broken. . . . Elkin's volume deserves a central place in any library on constitutional thought."
(Beau Breslin Law and Politics Book Review)

"Reconstructing the Commercial Republic is a thoughtful and challenging book, and hopefully it will inspire others to take up the project of constitutional preservation that it champions."
(Keith E. Whittington Political Science Quarterly)

"Elkin has written a brilliant account of the nature of the American constitutional regime and its Madisonian origins, and as well provided extensive commentary on reforms needed to sustain such government in our own day. No other recent book, to my knowledge, so wisely assesses the American founding and so carefuly and specifically projects that understanding to contemporary political circumstances. . . . This is the best book on the political theory of the founding era, and its relevance for today, to come off the press in a long time."
(Ralph Ketcham American Historical Review)

"Given the serious consideration it deserves, Elkin's book should spark a larger debate about the ideas of the founding and their bearing on public policy design and evaluation. Thus, his work is not merely a contribution to the discipline of political science; it is an impressive act of civic education. It reminds the reader of Lincoln's lesson in te Lyceum Address: the best safeguard for perpetuating our political institutions is a proper understanding of their origin."
(B. Jeffrey Reno Sociology)

About the Author

Stephen L. Elkin is professor in the Department of Government at the University of Maryland and the editor of the Good Society, a journal of the Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society. He is also the author of City and Regime in the American Republic, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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