The Constitution and the Pride of Reason

The Constitution and the Pride of Reason

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Examining the perennial claim that constitutional law somehow embodies a commitment to governance by "reason," this book shows how the lofty intentions of yesterday's framers and today's scholars have culminated in rampant confusion and elaborate sophistry. The Constitution and the Pride of Reason gives readers a provocative overview of the noble aspirations and tragic failures of American constitutionalism, offering iconoclastic assessments of constitutionalists ranging from Madison and Jefferson to Dworkin and Bork. "This is not a book for specialists in constitutional doctrine. It draws upon political and moral philosophy, history, constitutional theory, and political science to sustain a thesis which should interest all thinking Americans. It is also refreshingly well-written, very clear, and precise, often witty."-Gerald V. Bradley, University of Notre Dameshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 218 pages
  • 163.6 x 241.6 x 22.9mm | 537.46g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195117476
  • 9780195117479
  • 2,005,168

Review quote

"Terrific....This book will make a much more significant and lasting contribution to the field of constitutional theory than many recent books that have received considerable attention."--Larry Alexander, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law"Steven Smith's fascinating and highly readable The Constitution and the Pride of Reason follows the 'trail of reason' through generations of constitutional theorists to expose the hubris at the heart of the Enlightenment precepts undergirding the Constitution. His analysis is comprehensive, lively, and even humorous at points as he exposes the deep faith in reason that has characterized constitutional theorizing since the framers gathered in Philadelphia....This well-written book is not only a chronicle but also a morality tale which ends with a warning to those who would continue to make extravagant claims about the efficacy of reason in constitutional lawmaking and theorizing."--Marci A. Hamilton, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law"This is not a book for specialists in constitutional doctrine. It draws upon political and moral philosophy, history, constitutional theory, and political science to sustain a thesis which should interest all thinking Americans. It is also refreshingly well written, very clear and precise, often witty."--Gerald V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame"He provides a stimulating assessment of the problems faced by contemporary approaches to the determination of constitutional meanings, particularly in relation to the overall role of reason. His analysis should be useful to constitutional scholars, to persons in other academic fields and to members of the general public who are concered about constitutional interpretation."--The Law and Politics Book Review..".one of the most insightful, penetrating, and clearheaded exercises in American constitutional theory to come along in years. Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and professionals."--Choiceshow more

About Steven D. Smith

Steven D. Smith is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He has taught and published extensively on legal subjects, including constitutional law and jurisprudence.show more