Foundations of American Constitutionalism

Foundations of American Constitutionalism

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In writing the constitution, the Founders combined a Lockean theory of politically legitimate power with the political science they had learned from Machiavelli, Harrington, Hume, and Montesquieu to articulate a new conception of constitutional argument. Examining the Founders' humanist analytical methods and working assumptions, this book combines history, political philosophy, and interpretive practice as it demonstrates an alternative exegesis of the Constitution. It clarifies a wide range of interpretive issues of federalism, enumerated rights (religious liberty and free speech), unenumerated rights (the constitutional right to privacy), and equal protection.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 338 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195059395
  • 9780195059397

Back cover copy

The idea of Founders' intent continues to be a remarkably durable force in American constitutional interpretation. It is consequently necessary that any acceptable theory of the proper interpretation of the Constitution give weight and sense to this American practice.
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Review quote

'Richards' interpretive theory is persuasive. His broad, humanistic, interdisciplinary approach is a very attractive one. There is much material for thought here.'
Roberta Sue Alexander, University of Dayton, History, Summer 1992 'Richards' thesis is obviously contentious, but its impressive exposition may well have judicial conservatives reeling as they find themselves hoist on their own petard.'
Robert J. McKeever, University of Reading, American Politics Review, No.24, September 1990
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About David A. J. Richards

Author of Toleration and the Constitution (OUP 1986)
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