The second creation: fixing the American Constitution in the founding era

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Publisher:
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,
Pub. Date:
2018.
Language:
English
Description

A stunning revision of our founding document’s evolving history that forces us to confront anew the question that animated the founders so long ago: What is our Constitution?

Americans widely believe that the United States Constitution was created when it was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788. But in a shrewd rereading of the founding era, Jonathan Gienapp upends this long-held assumption, recovering the unknown story of American constitutional creation in the decade after its adoption—a story with explosive implications for current debates over constitutional originalism and interpretation.

When the Constitution first appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was its meaning unclear, but so too was its essential nature. Was the American Constitution a written text, or something else? Was it a legal text? Was it finished or unfinished? What rules would guide its interpretation? Who would adjudicate competing readings? As political leaders put the Constitution to work, none of these questions had answers. Through vigorous debates they confronted the document’s uncertainty, and—over time—how these leaders imagined the Constitution radically changed. They had begun trying to fix, or resolve, an imperfect document, but they ended up fixing, or cementing, a very particular notion of the Constitution as a distinctively textual and historical artifact circumscribed in space and time. This means that some of the Constitution’s most definitive characteristics, ones which are often treated as innate, were only added later and were thus contingent and optional.

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ISBN:
9780674185043
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 8708f315-8a2d-44e5-d6ac-574d7e528e1b
Grouping Title second creation fixing the american constitution in the founding era
Grouping Author gienapp jonathan
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-08-07 04:48:41AM
Last Indexed 2019-08-17 04:52:07AM

Solr Details

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author Gienapp, Jonathan, 1983-
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display_description Americans widely believe that the United States Constitution was almost wholly created when it was drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788. But in a shrewd rereading of the founding era, Jonathan Gienapp upends this long-held assumption, recovering the unknown story of American constitutional creation in the decade after its adoption--a story with explosive implications for current debates over constitutional originalism and interpretation. When the Constitution first appeared, it was shrouded in uncertainty. Not only was its meaning unclear, but so too was its essential nature. Was the American Constitution a written text, or something else? Was it a legal text? Was it finished or unfinished? What rules would guide its interpretation? Who would adjudicate competing readings? As political leaders put the Constitution to work, none of these questions had answers. Through vigorous debates they confronted the document's uncertainty, and--over time--how these leaders imagined the Constitution radically changed. They had begun trying to fix, or resolve, an imperfect document, but they ended up fixing, or cementing, a very particular notion of the Constitution as a distinctively textual and historical artifact circumscribed in space and time. This means that some of the Constitution's most definitive characteristics, ones which are often treated as innate, were only added later and were thus contingent and optional. By offering a stunning revision of the founding document's evolving history, The Second Creation forces us to confront anew the question that animated the founders so long ago: What is our Constitution?--
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ils:.b20576456 Book Books English The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2018. 451 pages ; 25.
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subject_facet Constitutional history -- United States
Constitutional law -- United States
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title_display The second creation : fixing the American Constitution in the founding era
title_full The second creation : fixing the American Constitution in the founding era / Jonathan Gienapp
title_short The second creation :
title_sub fixing the American Constitution in the founding era