Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Littleton-Griswold Book Prize to Hulsebosch, Constituting Empire

The American Historical Association has announced that Daniel J. Hulsebosch is the winner of the Littleton-Griswold Prize for the best book in any subject on the history of American law and society, for his book Constituting Empire: New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic World, 1664–1830 (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006). The prize will be awarded at the AHA annual meeting in Atlanta next week. Hulseboch of NYU Law School also picked up the John Phillip Reid Book Prize from the American Sociey for Legal History in fall 2006. The Reid Prize Committee had this to say:
This year's Reid Prize was awarded to Daniel J. Hulsebosch, for Constituting Empire: New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic World, 1664-1830 (University of North Carolina Press). The Committee's citation read: "Daniel Hulsebosch's book offers a sweeping reinterpretation of early American constitutional history that takes the reader from the imperial constitution of Lord Coke to the constitutional imperialism of Chancellor Kent. The heart of the analysis reassesses the meaning of the American Revolution as a constitutional event. Bringing original sources to light, using canonical sources in new ways, and building on the work of John Reid that has forced historians to take the legal grievances of the eighteenth century seriously, Hulsebosch demonstrates that the state and federal constitutions were shaped by North America's imperial past. He shows how the raw material of the English constitution got remade by colonists and imperial agents on the ground, as well as by the British American lawyers who are now called Founding Fathers. He also illuminates the process by which legal practices were abstracted into formal ideas and how this formalization was a means to an end: first to unite a transatlantic empire, then to forge a more perfect Union. Constituting Empire does not pretend to have the last word on the American founding. But it may well have pioneered a new line of scholarship exploring the social politics of constitutionalism."