Constitutional Faith by Sanford Levinson

By Sanford Levinson

This booklet examines the "constitutional faith" that has, for the reason that 1788, been a crucial part of American "civil religion." by way of taking heavily the parallel among wholehearted attractiveness of the structure and non secular religion, Sanford Levinson opens up a bunch of interesting questions about what it potential to be American. whereas a few view the structure because the important component to an American faith that serves to unite the social order, Levinson keeps that its sacred function can lead to clash, fragmentation, or even warfare. To Levinson, the Constitution's price lies within the realm of the discourse it sustains: a uniquely American kind of political rhetoric that enables voters to grapple with each very important public factor imaginable.

In a brand new afterword, Levinson appears to be like on the deepening of constitutional worship and attributes the present frequent frustrations with the govt to the static nature of the structure.

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London: His Majesty’s Stationary Ofice, 1860–), 1661–8, 25. 18 In these discussions, colonial spokesmen articulated an elaborate argument designed to strengthen their early claims to what they thought of as their inherited rights as English people. According to this argument, the original settlers and their descendants were all equally free-born English subjects who had left their native country to establish English hegemony over portions of the New World. Denying that they could lose any of their inherited rights simply by migrating to America, they pointed out that they had created their own civil governments with the speciic purpose of securing those rights to themselves.

Notwithstanding this massive expansion of representative institutions throughout the American empire and the fact that, already by 1700, the assemblies in the older colonies had “achieved a position, if not superior to, at least parallel 23 William Douglass, Summary, Historical and Political, of the First Planting, Progressive Improvement, and Present State of the British Settlements in North America, 2 vols. (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1749–51), 1: 207. 18 The Constitutional Origins to and independent from” the governors and councils24 and in most cases had gained a degree of independence, customary assurances of frequent elections, and traditions of regular meeting that exceeded those of the House of Commons before the Glorious Revolution, the legal and constitutional status of the assemblies remained a hotly and frequently contested issue down to and after the American Revolution.

Second, they required that colonies operate under no laws that were repugnant to “Laws, Statutes, Customs, and Rights of our Kingdom of England” and thereby powerfully implied that the laws of England were to provide the model, and the standard, for all colonial laws. Third, beginning with the charter to Maryland in 1632, they also stipulated that colonies should use and enjoy “all Privileges, Franchises and Liberties of this our Kingdom of England, freely, quietly, and peacefully to have and possess .

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