American Constitutionalism by Stephen M. Griffin

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By Stephen M. Griffin

This publication is a brilliantly concise survey of up to date constitutional research. Professor Griffin outlines some of the camps of constitutional notion with awesome readability and extremely cautious quotation. despite the intensity of concept or trouble of the subject material, Professor Griffin lays out the positions of each side during this exact and novel publication. This publication may still locate its approach at the cabinets of any legal professional, historian, pupil or political scientist attracted to the USA structure. This e-book combines unique scholarship with an available writing sort. a real excitement.

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American Constitutionalism

This booklet is a brilliantly concise survey of up to date constitutional research. Professor Griffin outlines some of the camps of constitutional inspiration with striking readability and intensely cautious quotation. despite the intensity of inspiration or hassle of the subject material, Professor Griffin lays out the positions of both sides during this detailed and novel booklet.

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W. Norton, 1983), pp. 123–27. 32 CHAPTER ONE how strictly the list of powers granted to Congress should be read. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 posed the broader issue of the nature of American federalism. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 is a good example of early constitutional change. President Jefferson thought at first it was clear that an amendment was required because the Constitution said nothing about the power of the United States to acquire new territory. He stated that asking for an amendment was preferable to assuming the existence of the power through an interpretation of the Constitution.

57 For relevant commentary on this point, see Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 7. 54 AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM 25 background. The task now was not to create a fundamental law but to provide the authority to govern. Popular sovereignty and constitutional conventions had no role here. We are now in a position to offer a test for validating claims of sovereignty. Validating claims of sovereignty is a matter of discovering whether the asserted location of sovereignty matches a concrete set of institutions that exercise political authority.

60 The wish for direct democracy, however, does not translate into an effective solution for the problem of political authority. The doctrine of popular sovereignty could not solve the very real problems of political authority inherent in the Constitution, problems that led to the Civil War. Popular sovereignty helps Americans to avoid important practical ques58 See Morgan, Inventing the People, pp. 210–11, 257–58; Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp. 363–89. 59 See Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp.

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