We the People: Foundations

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Harvard University Press, 1993 - History - 369 pages
2 Reviews

Bruce Ackerman offers a sweeping reinterpretation of our nation's constitutional experience and its promise for the future. Integrating themes from American history, political science, and philosophy, We the People confronts the past, present, and future of popular sovereignty in America. Only this distinguished scholar could present such an insightful view of the role of the Supreme Court. Rejecting arguments of judicial activists, proceduralists, and neoconservatives, Ackerman proposes a new model of judicial interpretation that would synthesize the constitutional contributions of many generations into a coherent whole. The author ranges from examining the origins of the dualist tradition in the Federalist Papers to reflecting upon recent, historic constitutional decisions. The latest revolutions in civil rights, and the right to privacy, are integrated into the fabric of constitutionalism. Today's Constitution can best be seen as the product of three great exercises in popular sovereignty, led by the Founding Federalists in the 1780s, the Reconstruction Republicans in the 1860s, and the New Deal Democrats in the 1930s.

Ackerman examines the roles played during each of these periods by the Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. He shows that Americans have built a distinctive type of constitutional democracy, unlike any prevailing in Europe. It is a dualist democracy, characterized by its continuing effort to distinguish between two kinds of politics: normal politics, in which organized interest groups try to influence democratically elected representatives; and constitutional politics, in which the mass of citizens mobilize to debate matters of fundamental principle. Although American history is dominated by normal politics, our tradition places a higher value on mobilized efforts to gain the consent of the people to new governing principles.In a dualist democracy, the rare triumphs of constitutional politics determine the course of normal politics.More than a decade in the making, and the first of three volumes, this compelling book speaks to all who seek to renew and redefine our civic commitments in the decades ahead.

  

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Review: We the People, Volume 1: Foundations (We the People #1)

User Review  - Rick - Goodreads

Great insight into all of the thinking behind the thinking about what went into our Constitutional foundation. Read full review

Review: We the People, Volume 1: Foundations (We the People #1)

User Review  - Benjamin - Goodreads

http://terrafirma.typepad.com/my-blog... Read full review

Contents

Dualist Democracy
3
The Bicentennial Myth
34
One Constitution Three Regimes
58
The Middle Republic
81
The Modern Republic
105
The Possibility of Interpretation
131
PART TWO NeoFederalism
163
Publius
165
The Lost Revolution
200
Normal Politics
230
Higher Lawmaking
266
Why Dualism?
295
Notes
325
Index
359
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University, and the author or coauthor of more than fifteen books on political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy, including "Social Justice in the Liberal State, The Stakeholder Society, "and" Deliberation Day," all published by Yale University Press.

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