As a field, legal history has long been centrally concerned with the patterns and trajectories of American political development and state formation. In his recent book, Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2015), Gary Gerstle offers a compact and highly readable synthesis of the long arc of the battles over the idea of a strong and central American state, from the constitutional founding through recent clashes between the Obama administration and the Tea Party. Gerstle and his work are of course well-known in the field. In this new book, he offers a cautionary narrative about this long process of state formation, and how it has set in place pathologies that fuel recurring crises of governance and legitimacy.Read on here.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Rahman Reviews Gerstle, "Liberty and Coercion"
Writing for JOTWELL's Legal History Section, K. Sabeel Rahman (Brooklyn Law School) has posted a review of Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (2015), by Gary Gerstle (Cambridge University). Here's the first paragraph: