Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
the ordinary citizen harassed on the street for possibly concealing a hip-flask; the overwhelmed judge with an impossible caseload of criminal casual drinkers, waiters, and restaurant owners; the law enforcer tempted beyond typical possibilities by the corruption of his extended powers. There is a good chapter about women and their "pivotal and surprising role in the demise of the noble experiment" (p. 171)....
Monday, April 28, 2008
Among those questions about investigations of the past, Universities occupy a special place. Efforts at recovery of their connections to slavery include a study released by graduate students at Yale in 2001, Brown University's Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, and the University of Virginia's board of visitors' spring 2007 apology for that institution's connections to slavery.
That leads to a question about whether other schools ought to consider a self-investigation. William and Mary is a particularly good place to ask such questions. This paper focuses on Thomas R. Dew, first a professor, then president at William and Mary, from 1828 to his early death in 1846. Dew is the author of Review of the Debates in the Virginia Legislature, one of the most reprinted arguments on slavery in the years leading into Civil War. He is also the author of one of the most comprehensive and important histories published in the United States in the nineteenth century, A Digest of the Laws, Customs, Manners and Institutions of Ancient and Modern Nations. Dew focused on considerations of utility and history to suggest the impracticality of gradual emancipation. Through Dew we can gauge the intellectual connections to slavery, then ask the important question, what - if anything - is an appropriate institutional response today? We can use him to begin a discussion of the virtues and pitfalls of apologies and to assess the value of talk of the connections to the past.
Merkel on Jefferson's Failed Anti-Slavery Proviso of 1784 and the Nascence of Free Soil Constitutionalism
Sunday, April 27, 2008
preferably at night, with the 'shapeless universe' outside expunged by darkness. Warmed by the pools of light that spill from his lamps, he does not even need to read: the smell of the wooden shelves and 'the musky perfume of the leather bindings' is enough to pacify him and prepare him for sleep....Within his global, multilingual book collection, he can effortlessly travel in both time and space.
What emerges clearly from Giddings' account is a portrait of a courageous activist who desperately longed for recognition and credit but found herself instead perpetually frustrated when passed over for office or denied the praise she believed she deserved. One of the many strengths of Giddings's biography is her reluctance to either romanticize or minimize Wells' contributions. She is also appropriately attentive to the broader canvas of black politics, continually situating Wells in a spectrum of black perspectives that can no longer be reduced to Booker T. Washington's accommodationism and W.E.B. DuBois' militancy. If excessively detailed at times, "Ida: A Sword Among Lions" is nevertheless a skillfully constructed and often moving account of a life and a time whose complexity is always central to its story.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
The broader impact of cutbacks at the archives was addressed last spring in a post on this blog: Losing American History at the Archives, linking to a NYT op-ed on the topic. While the National Archives now appears to have restored its regular hours, the enduring problem, which Eric encountered, is the loss of experienced senior staff. This does not just make research more difficult and time-consuming. It will mean that some nuggets of history go unfound by researchers, who rely on assistance from those who know the records the best. To repeat the point I made last spring: Undermining the role of the archivist in the production of American history writing will undermine the way the story of American history itself is told.
Any bibliography will be somewhat idiosyncratic, as O'Donnell notes, but these lists will be of great help to grad students or to anyone inching into a new research area. Below are links to his posts on recently posted bibliographies. On the blog, O'Donnell links to PDF files with the actual bibliographies:
International Law, Human Rights and Comparative Law
Criminal Law, Punishment and Prisons
American Indian Law
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Thu, May 29 - 8:15am - 10:00am
Citizenship and Localism, 1800-1860: Judges, Legislators, and Administrators vs. Slaves, Native Americans, and Widows
Citizen Soldiers and Weeping Widows: Locating Social Citizenship in Early Nineteenth-Century America
Kristin Collins (Boston University)
From Legislation to Extermination: How the Military and State and Federal Legislators Opened the Door to the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1860
Benjamin L Madley (Yale University)
The Civil War as a Trial by Battle: Federal Supremacy and Secession Ideology among Ex-Confederates
Cynthia Nicoletti (University of Virginia)
The People's Courts: Indian Lands in Mississippi (1832), Slavery in Kentucky (1849), and the Adoption of Judicial Elections
Jed Shugerman (Harvard University), Benjamin L Madley (Yale University), Kristin Collins (Boston University)
Fri, May 30 - 8:15am - 10:00am
Allegiance and Citizenship in American Law
Chair/Discussant: Kitty Calavita (University of California, Irvine)
Military Service and the Obligations of United States Citizenship: The Interwar Cases
Candice Bredbenner (Arizona State University)
Sacrifice and Civic Membership: Who Earns Rights, and When?
Julie Novkov (University at Albany, SUNY)
Crossing Borders: Fenians and the Expatriation Crisis of the 1860s
Lucy E. Salyer (University of New Hampshire)
Fri, May 30 - 8:15am - 10:00am
The Law of Race in the Americas in Historical and Contemporary Contexts
Chair: Laura E. Gomez (University of New Mexico)
Race and the Shaping of US Immigration Policy
Donald S. Dobkin (Fakhoury Law Group)
Determining the Indeterminable: An Examination of Determining Race in Brazil for Purposes of Affirmative Action in Higher Education and Racial Determination Cases in the United States
Wendy Greene (Samford University)
Law, Race, and Slavery in the Americas
Ariela Gross (University of Southern California), Alejandro De la Fuente (University of Pittsburgh)
Between Social Movements and Identity: The Case of the Indigenous Urban Multi-Ethnic Cabildo; The Chibcariwak in Colombia
David Restrepo Amariles (European Academy of Legal Theory)
Fri, May 30 - 8:15am - 10:00am
Regulating Difference in Comparative Perspective: Historical Contexts
Chair: Leslie Thielen-Wilson (University of Toronto)
Judicial Review in Kingdom and Dominions: Statutory Review, Colonialism, and First Peoples in Comparative Perspective
David A. Bateman (University of Pennsylvania)
Fanny Hill and Worse: Regulating Moral and Religious Expression in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, 1820-40
Lyndsay Campbell (University of California, Berkeley)
Blacks and Indians before the Antebellum U.S. Supreme Court
Leslie F. Goldstein (University of Delaware)
Colonialism, Co-option, or Co-operation? Saskatchewan's Aboriginal and Natural Resources Policies in North (1930-1964)
Nicole C. O'Byrne (University of Victoria)
Fri, May 30 - 10:15am - 12:00pm
Author Meets Reader--"The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America," by Felicia Kornbluh
Chair: Julie Nice (University of Denver)
Author: Felicia Kornbluh (Duke University)
Reader: Kaaryn Gustafson (University of Connecticut)
Reader: Thomas Hilbink (Open Society Institute)
Reader: Julie Nice (University of Denver)
Fri, May 30 - 2:30pm - 4:15pm
The Promises of Liberty: Reconsidering the Thirteenth Amendment
Chair: Rebecca E. Zietlow (University of Toledo)
Immigrant Workers and the Thirteenth Amendment
Maria Ontiveros (University of San Francisco)
The Working Class, the Knowledge Class, and the Thirteenth Amendment
James G. Pope (Rutgers University)
The Thirteenth Amendment’s Revolutionary Aims
Alexander Tsesis (Loyola University, Chicago)
Citizenship and the Thirteenth Amendment: Understanding the Deafening Silence
Michael Vorenberg (Brown University)
The Promise of Congressional Enforcement
Rebecca E. Zietlow (University of Toledo)
Sat, May 31 - 4:30pm - 6:15pm
Historical Perspectives on Corporate Law
Chair: Robert W. Gordon (Yale University)
The Faithless Fiduciary and the Elusive Quest for Nonprofit Accountability
Fishman J. James (Pace University)
Corporate Law and the Sovereignty of States
Jason Kaufman (Harvard University)
John F.A. Sanford As the CEO of the Frontier's First Megabusiness
Lea Vandervelde (University of Iowa)
Corporations That Aren't: The Early Years of the Modern Income Tax
Richard Winchester (Thomas Jefferson School of Law)
Schrag on How Talking Became Human Subjects Research: The Federal Regulation of the Social Sciences, 1965-1991
There has been much controversy in the past year over proposed expansion of the category of research subject to review before Institutional Review Boards, potentially including oral history research. The American Historical Association submitted a letter to the Office for Human Research Protections objecting to inclusion of oral history, and has lauded Schrag's research. Schrag blogs about these issues at, appropriately enough, the Institutional Review Blog.
Here's the abstract for his new paper: In universities across the United States, institutional review boards, or IRBs, claim that they have the moral and legal authority to control the work of researchers in the humanities and social sciences. While IRBs may claim powers independent of federal regulations, they invariably point to these regulations as a key source of their authority. This article draws on previously untapped manuscript materials in the National Archives to trace the history of the federal regulation of social science research. Officials raised sincere concerns about dangers to participants in social science research, especially the unwarranted invasion of privacy as a result of poorly planned survey and observational research. On the other hand, the application of the regulations to the social sciences was far less careful than was the development of guidelines for biomedical research. Regulators failed to define the problem they were trying to solve, then insisted on a protective measure borrowed from biomedical research without investigating alternatives.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court elevated the events surrounding the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Virginia during and soon after the American Revolution as a principal guide for the meaning of the Establishment Clause. The rule to come out of the Virginia experience is that support for religion should be voluntary thus, no active support by the government.
An in-depth examination of James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance opposing Patrick Henry's Assessment Bill is undertaken here not only because of its role in the Virginia disestablishment, but because it is the most important document on religious freedom by an American. In a blend of Lockeian views and those of Protestant dissenters, Madison argues that government should have "no cognizance" over claims of "religious truth," as opposed to religious teachings that speak to moral issues of interest to our common life together and hence properly of interest to civil government. Back in 1785, however, Madison's Memorial was less influential than petitions filed by Virginia's Presbyterians and Baptists. A careful look at all these petitions shows that the theological reasons for opposing a religious establishment were the more persuasive. The primary aim of the petitions was to protect organized religion from being corrupted by too close an embrace by the civil state.
Virginia's dramatic story is told here of how a few well-placed statesmen of Lockeian sympathies made common cause with religious dissenters to narrowly carry off a defeat of Henry's tax for the support of clergy salaries. The lesson is that the government's jurisdiction ("cognizance") over the church is limited, as civil government is without authority to actively support (or interfere with internal matters of) organized religion, all to the mutual benefit of church and state.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776-1941
In the Age of Jackson, private enterprise set up shop in the American penal system. Working hand in glove with state government, contractors in both the North and the South would go on to put more than half a million imprisoned men, women, and youth to hard, sweated toil for private gain by 1900. Held captive, stripped of their rights, and subject to lash and paddle, convict laborers churned out vast quantities of goods and revenue, in some years generating the equivalent of more than $30 billion worth of work. By the 1880s, however, a growing mass of Americans came to regard the prison labor system as immoral and unbefitting of a free republic: it fostered torture and other abuses, degraded free citizen-workers, corrupted government and the legal system, and stifled the supposedly ethical purposes of punishment. The Crisis of Imprisonment tells the remarkable story of this controversial system of penal servitude:-how it came into being, how it worked, how the popular campaigns for its abolition were ultimately victorious, and how it shaped and continues to haunt the American penal system. The author takes the reader into the morally vital world of nineteenth-century artisans, industrial workers, farmers, clergy, convicts, machine politicians, and labor leaders and shows how prisons became a lightning rod in a determined defense of republican and Christian values against the encroachments of an unbridled market capitalism. She explores the vexing ethical questions that prisons posed then and remain exigent today: What are the limits of state power over the minds, bodies, and souls of citizens and others-is torture permissible under certain circumstances? What, if anything, makes the state morally fit to deprive a person of life or liberty? Are prisoners slaves and, if so, by what right? Should prisoners work? Is the prison a morally defensible institution? The eventual abolition of prison labor contracting plunged the prisons into deep fiscal and ideological crisis. The second half of the book offers a sweeping reinterpretation of Progressive Era prison reform as, above all, a response to this crisis. It concludes with an exploration of the long-range impact of both penal servitude and the anti-prison labor movement on the modern American penal system.
"Although there have been several fine studies of the thinking and influence of American prison reformers, McLennan has written a revealing study of the impact of popular politics, and especially of the prisoners themselves on the shaping and reshaping of state prison systems. She helps us understand the huge prison business of our times by analyzing controversies and prison revolts that led first to the development of contract prison labor then to its abolition in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." - David Montgomery, Yale University
"A timely, penetrating look into the horrors of the nineteenth-century prison system, its brutal-and brutalizing-convict labor system, and the mass of ordinary Americans who confronted its abuses and, ultimately, brought about its abolition." - Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents
"This is an extraordinary investigation and analysis of penal servitude and anti-prison labor campaigns in American history. Wonderfully insightful and illuminating, this work has much to teach us about where we've been and what we must consider in confronting the politics of legal punishment." - Bryan Stevenson, New York University School of Law, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative
"One of the smartest books about punishment I have ever read. And this is not just a book about prisons. The story Rebecca McLennan narrates so powerfully in these pages-the controversial career of penal servitude in a liberal democratic republic--has much to tell us about the history of American society, politics, and institutions." - Michael Willrich, Brandeis University, author of City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago
Conference papers submitted for the Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars award are due June 15, 2008. The program of Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars is designed to help legal historians at the beginning of their careers. At the annual meeting of the Society two younger legal historians designated Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars will present what would normally be their first papers to the Society.
The deadline for the John Phillip Reid Book Award for the best book published in 2007 in English in any of the fields broadly defined as Anglo-American legal history is May 30, 2008. Nominations for this year’s prize should include a curriculum vitae of the author and be accompanied by a hard copy version of the work (no electronic submissions, please).
Cromwell book prize and dissertation prizes
Cromwell book prize
The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation awards annually a $5000 prize for excellence in scholarship in the field of American Legal History by a junior scholar. The prize is designed to recognize and promote new work in the field by graduate students, law students, and faculty not yet tenured. The work may be in any area of American legal history, including constitutional and comparative studies, but scholarship in the colonial and early national periods will receive some preference. The Foundation awards the prize on the recommendation of the Cromwell Prize Advisory Committee of the American Society for Legal History. In 2006, the Committee considered books and articles published, or dissertations accepted, in the previous calendar year.
Cromwell Dissertation Prize
The Cromwell Foundation has also established a $2500 prize for dissertations accepted or student articles written in the previous year in the general field of American legal history (broadly conceived), with some preference for those in the area of early America or the colonial period.
Anyone may nominate works for the Cromwell Prizes. The Committee will accept nominations from authors, dissertation advisors, presses, or anyone else. Nominations for this year’s prizes should include a curriculum vitae of the author and be accompanied by a hard copy version of the work (no electronic submissions, please) sent to each member of the Committee and postmarked no later than May 31, 2008.
More information about all of these prizes, including addresses for members of prize committees is here.
Don't be shy about asking your press (or your professor) to nominate you, or send your book or dissertation in yourself. Presses are often unaware of book prizes like this, and sometimes deadlines are missed. The bottom line is: you have to be the advocate for your own work.
Farber, Security v. Liberty: Conflicts Between Civil Liberties and National Security in American History
Security v. Liberty focuses on periods of national emergency in the twentieth century—from World War I through the Vietnam War—to explore how past episodes might bear upon today’s dilemma. Distinguished historian Alan Brinkley shows that during World War I the government targeted vulnerable groups—including socialists, anarchists, and labor leaders—not because of a real threat to the nation, but because it was politically expedient to scapegoat unpopular groups. Nonetheless, within ten years the Supreme Court had rolled back the most egregious of the World War I restrictions on civil liberties. Legal scholar John Yoo argues for the legitimacy of the Bush administration’s War on Terror policies—such as the detainment and trials of suspected al Qaeda members—by citing historical precedent in the Roosevelt administration’s prosecution of World War II. Yoo contends that, compared to Roosevelt’s sweeping use of executive orders, Bush has exercised relative restraint in curtailing civil liberties. Law professor Geoffrey Stone describes how J. Edgar Hoover used domestic surveillance to harass anti-war protestors and civil rights groups throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Congress later enacted legislation to prevent a recurrence of the Hoover era excesses, but Stone notes that the Bush administration has argued for the right to circumvent some of these restrictions in its campaign against terrorism. Historian Jan Ellen Lewis looks at early U.S. history to show how an individual’s civil liberties often depended on the extent to which he or she fit the definition of “American” as the country’s borders expanded. Legal experts Paul Schwartz and Ronald Lee examine the national security implications of rapid advances in information technology, which is increasingly driven by a highly globalized private sector, rather than by the U.S. government.
This Companion volume provides a comprehensive overview of the major themes and topics pertinent to ancient Greek law. A substantial introduction establishes the recent historiography on this topic and its development over the last 30 years. Many of the 22 essays, written by an international team of experts, deal with procedural and substantive law in classical Athens, but significant attention is also paid to legal practice in the archaic and Hellenistic eras; areas that offer substantial evidence for legal practice, such as Crete and Egypt; the intersection of law with religion, philosophy, political theory, rhetoric, and drama, as well as the unity of Greek law and the role of writing in law. The volume is intended to introduce non-specialists to the field as well as to stimulate new thinking among specialists.
Part I. Law in Greece:
Monday, April 21, 2008
The End of the Affair? Anti-Dueling Laws and Social Norms in Antebellum America appeared in the Vanderbilt Law Review (2007). Here's the abstract: The story of anti-dueling laws has become a favorite tale for many social norms theorists. In their tellings, the spread of anti-dueling laws in the antebellum South and the subsequent end of dueling illustrates how properly drafted laws can change social norms and thus alter behavior. The actual history of these laws, however, teaches a different lesson. While the laws were carefully crafted to undermine the social norms promoting dueling, they failed. The very social norms that encouraged dueling prevented effective enforcement of laws passed to end the practice, and the affair of honor in the South was ended not by well-intentioned laws but by the social catastrophe of the Civil War. This account in turn suggests that there will be limits on modern-day attempts to alter social norms through legal sanctions.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Civil Rights Revolution to Immigration Law: A New Look at the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 appeared in the North Carolina Law Review (1996). Here's the abstract:
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 may prove to be the most consequential of the Great Society civil rights initiatives. The Act removed a reference for whites which had been a central feature of American immigration and nationality law since 1790; the resulting diversification of the immigrant stream will make America a "majority minority" nation within a few decades. Many commentators contend that the diversification that resulted from race-neutral immigration policy was unanticipated, undesired or both, from the perspective of the Congress that passed the Act. This article reexamines the question, drawing on legislative history as well as interviews with key legislators such as Gerald R. Ford, cabinet members including Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, and other participants in the development of the Act. The article concludes that it is more likely that Congress, largely the same one that passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, rejected the idea of America as a white nation. Congress actually intended to eliminate racial discrimination, and welcomed the diversification that it knew would result.Segregation's Last Stronghold: Race Discrimination and the Constitutional Law of Immigration appeared in the UCLA Law Review (1998). Here's the abstract:
For over a century, the Supreme Court has granted federal immigration laws a unique immunity from judicial review. Relying on the so-called plenary power doctrine, the Court has said that "over no conceivable subject" is federal power greater than it is over immigration; even modern federal cases, for example, state that Congress may freely discriminate on the basis of race in this context. In recent years, the Court has defended this approach primarily on stare decisis grounds. In this Article, Professor Gabriel Chin suggests that the plenary power doctrine should be reexamined because the foundational cases are unsound. Chae Chan Ping v. United States and Fong Yue Ting v. United States, the cases that established the plenary power doctrine and remain the leading cases, upheld federal discrimination against immigrants based on race. The plenary power cases were decided by the same Court that decided Plessy v. Ferguson; like Plessy, they reflect principles that have been emphatically rejected by the Court since Brown v. Board of Education.The Plessy Myth: Justice Harlan and the Chinese Cases was published in the Iowa Law Review (1996). Here's the abstract:
For a century, the vision of racial equality expressed in John Marshall Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson has captured the legal imagination in a way matched by few other texts. Even today, the symbolic power of Harlan's rejection of segregation of African Americans and whites in New Orleans streetcars is rivaled only by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech and Brown v. Board of Education. There is a tiny fault in Harlan's Plessy dissent, a slip. After arguing that the government should guarantee "equality before the law of all citizens of the United States, without regard to race," the next paragraph begins like this: "There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race. But by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race [cannot]...." This essay explores Justice Harlan's attitude towards Chinese Americans in this and other cases in an effort to contextualize his Plessy dissent, and concludes that his anti-Chinese attitude is reasonably consistent. Many scholars ignore the anti-Chinese language in Plessy and other cases, making no effort to square his words with the idea that Harlan's view is worth following today. The essay concludes by suggesting that while Harlan was ahead of his colleagues on the Plessy Court in recognizing that "separate but equal" was catastrophically flawed, he failed to offer an understanding of equal protection of the laws which is useful today. Instead, Harlan's vision of a Constitution protecting some non-whites, yet approving of racial discrimination against other non-whites, was ultimately as unprincipled and unstable as the particular form of race hierarchy he rejected.
This article explains how the shift from birthright principle to parentage citizenship, which the 1960's legislation came to epitomize, was bound to lead to difficulties for citizens and state alike. The argument will be advanced that legal machinations in citizenship laws are to date an unedifying spectacle of a departure from what was once a classic principle of law. Indeed, such is the opprobrium that attaches to the event that Kevin Wilson has cautioned the United States against using anti-immigrant sentiment as a basis for migration law policies. The article will re-visit the East African Asians Case, including the events leading up to it, because, as will be argued, the full lessons of this case have still not been entirely learned by governments and lawyers alike. The East African Asians Case became a cause célèbre amongst human rights lawyers, in part because it highlighted how issues of race and culture can distort the policy-making process, destroying a person‘s legal and civil status in a community. Legal policy on an issue of such fundamental importance should not be distorted in this way. Principle should not be sacrificed to ill-conceived expediency.To fill this in for non-UK readers, the text of the article explains:
In the East African Asians Case, a group of British citizens of Asian descent living in East Africa, and lacking the parentage connection to Britain, were denied admission when they sought to enter the country in 1970. The European Commission on Human Rights resoundingly found that racial discrimination, to which the applicants had been publicly subjected by the application of UK immigration legislation, constituted an interference with their human dignity, which in the special circumstances of the case amounted to ‘degrading treatment’ in the sense of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.6 ‘Degrading treatment’ means interferences with human dignity of a particularly serious nature. The fact that the applicants had historical and cultural associations with the United Kingdom, but not racial connections, only helped to underscore how differential treatment by a state can become unacceptable, as did the fact that such differential treatment was carried but by a European country in respect of one of its own nationals.Developments in the U.K. in the 1960s were in response, in particular, to Asian immigration from Kenya, which became independent in 1963. The other East African country with an especially important crisis over Asian citizenship was Uganda. The 1970 East Africa Asians case preceded by a couple of years the mass expulsion of Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin.
Juss's article provides an interesting comparison with the expansion of immigration in the United States in the 1960s. Jack Chin has just posted an article on this topic, noted here with more recently posted works.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Here's the book description:
John Dinan, Department of Political Science, Wake Forest University finds the book "painstakingly researched and richly rewarding," in a review on H-Law.
"This is a superb and radical book, radical in the sense that it goes to the roots of the American constitutional tradition, pushes aside the crusty generations of constitution worship that have enshrined the federal constitution as a fixed, settled and static resolution of the nation's constitutional tradition and complicates matters enormously." Ronald Formisano, University of Kentucky, Lexington
"Professor Fritz's American Sovereigns tells a complicated story of constitutional development from the period of the Revolution to the Civil War. It is not a conventional account that takes its beginning from 1787 and a focus on the Federal Constitution; rather it offers an intimate account of change that reckons with the extraordinary role of the people as sovereigns. To be sure, Fritz discusses many questions that usually enter accounts of constitutions, but he gives these questions an unusual twist, and adds a fresh perspective through analysis of state constitutions, federal action with constitutional meanings; popular behavior in extraordinary events such as the Whiskey Rebellion and the Rhode Island crisis. In all of this intricate story, the people as sovereigns, a much contested proposition-as he demonstrates-serves to give his study its coherence. His book is not only a revisionist account; it is a beautifully written piece of history that illuminates a supremely important field." Robert Middlekauff, University of California, Berkeley