Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

By Jack N. Rakove
Read by Steven Weber

17.82 Hours 12/01/2010 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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What did the U.S. Constitution originally mean, and how can we recover the intentions of its framers? These questions, which resound throughout today’s most heated legal and political controversies, lie at the heart of Jack N. Rakove’s splendidly readable work of historical analysis. In Original Meanings, he traces the complex weave of ideology and interests from which the Constitution emerged and shows how Americans have attached different meanings to their founding document from the moment it was published. Original Meanings examines the classic issues that the framers of the Constitution had to solve: federalism, representation, executive power, individual rights, and the idea that the Constitution itself should become supreme law. Rakove pays particular attention to James Madison, the Constitution’s presiding genius, whose brilliance shaped the document’s framing, ratification, and amendment. The result is a major work of reinterpretation that should be read by every student of American history, law, and politics.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for History

What did the U.S. Constitution originally mean, and how can we recover the intentions of its framers? These questions, which resound throughout today’s most heated legal and political controversies, lie at the heart of Jack N. Rakove’s splendidly readable work of historical analysis. In Original Meanings, he traces the complex weave of ideology and interests from which the Constitution emerged and shows how Americans have attached different meanings to their founding document from the moment it was published.

Original Meanings examines the classic issues that the framers of the Constitution had to solve: federalism, representation, executive power, individual rights, and the idea that the Constitution itself should become supreme law. Rakove pays particular attention to James Madison, the Constitution’s presiding genius, whose brilliance shaped the document’s framing, ratification, and amendment. The result is a major work of reinterpretation that should be read by every student of American history, law, and politics.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A deeply satisfying account of the political world from which the United States Constitution issued.” New York Times Book Review
“With exquisite skill…Rakove convincingly demonstrates how complicated the issue of original intent really is…A first-rate historian.” Chicago Tribune
“Rich, learned, and profound…fascinating reading.” Boston Globe
“The most thoughtful and careful scholarly analysis to date of the extent to which the framers should control our contemporary understanding of the Constitution.” Stanley N. Katz, American Council of Learned Societies
“This work ranks with well-known works by Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood, Bruce Ackerman, and others. Its focus on the importance of language is reason enough for placing it on one’s shelf.” Library Journal
“A unique contribution to the historical and legal debate surrounding the Constitution.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Jack N. Rakove

Jack Rakove, the Coe Professor of History and American Studies and a professor of political science at Stanford University, is one of the most distinguished historians of the early American republic. He won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1997 for Original Meanings and frequently writes op-ed articles for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major newspapers.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 17.82
Audience: Adult
Language: English