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Framed for Posterity: Enduring Philosophy of the Constitution - American Political Thought (Hardback)
  • Framed for Posterity: Enduring Philosophy of the Constitution - American Political Thought (Hardback)
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Framed for Posterity: Enduring Philosophy of the Constitution - American Political Thought (Hardback)

(author)
£43.50
Hardback 200 Pages / Published: 30/05/1993
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In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall defined the Constitution as ""a superior, paramount law"", one that supersedes the laws passed by Congress and state legislatures. What makes it paramount? This book sets out to recover the enduring principles, purposes, and meanings that inform the founders' charter and continue to offer us political guidance more than 200 years later. In so doing, it steers a middle course between ""originalists"", who restrict interpretation to constitutional specifics, and ""relativists"", who adapt the Constitution to the moment by ignoring original meaning. ""Original intent"", Ralph Ketcham argues, is best discerned by a study of the political climate that nourished the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and, more particularly, by undertaking the broader meanings, intentions, and purposes of the framers. To recover this full context of political thinking, Ketcham delves not only into the meaning of the documents but also into the connotations of the framers' vocabulary, the reasoning behind both accepted and rejected propositions, arguments for and against, and unstated assumptions. In his analysis the fundamental or enduring principles are republicanism (as part of the broader doctrine of balance of powers). Ketcham answers those who question the relevance to modern constitutional interpretation of the finding that the founders were both republican and liberal. He asserts that the rights-protecting character of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights derived from the founders' belief that private rights depended upon active government and public virtue. In other words, private liberties rested on the citizenry's right to self-governance.

Publisher: University Press of Kansas
ISBN: 9780700605910
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 479 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"A wonderful discussion of fundamental ideas that animate the Constitution."--Jeffrey K. Tulis, author of The Rhetorical President

"With the good sense and keen judgment for which he is so well known, Ralph Ketcham has compiled an elegant primer of the first principles of the Constitution, in the process explaining how a Bill of Rights that was at first an afterthought to the Constitution could also express much of its original and essential meaning. Taking issue with those who read the Constitution and its declaration of rights as either a bundle of specific provisions or a statement of airy generalities, Ketcham fashions a powerful argument for treating the framers' commitment to fundamental rights expansively."--Jack N. Rakove, author of James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic

"Thoughtfully argued and gracefully written, this is a valuable contribution to the civic education of small-d democrats and small-r republicans. Ketcham brings historical depth and philosophical perspective to contemporary constitutional concerns about rights, responsibilities, and freedom. This readable and thought-provoking book is accessible to students and specialists alike, and 'must' reading for both."--Terence Ball, author of Transforming Political Discourse: Political Theory and Critical Conceptual History


"A richly rewarding musing on our constitutional heritage by one of our foremost constitutional scholars."--American Historical Review

"Framed for Posterity presents an enlightening interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution. . . . [Ketcham's] attempt to define constitutional intent through a basic political philosophy is a courageous effort to identify workable ideals that can still guide the public life of the nation into its third century."--Journal of American History

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