The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution (Oxford Handbooks)

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9780190245757: The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution (Oxford Handbooks)

The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution offers a comprehensive overview and introduction to the U.S. Constitution from the perspectives of history, political science, law, rights, and constitutional themes, while focusing on its development, structures, rights, and role in the U.S. political system and culture. This Handbook enables readers within and beyond the U.S. to develop a critical comprehension of the literature on the Constitution, along with accessible and up-to-date analysis.

The historical essays included in this Handbook cover the Constitution from 1620 right through the Reagan Revolution to the present. Essays on political science detail how contemporary citizens in the United States rely extensively on political parties, interest groups, and bureaucrats to operate a constitution designed to prevent the rise of parties, interest-group politics and an entrenched bureaucracy. The essays on law explore how contemporary citizens appear to expect and accept the exertions of power by a Supreme Court, whose members are increasingly disconnected from the world of practical politics. Essays on rights discuss how contemporary citizens living in a diverse multi-racial society seek guidance on the meaning of liberty and equality, from a Constitution designed for a society in which all politically relevant persons shared the same race, gender, religion and ethnicity. Lastly, the essays on themes explain how in a "globalized" world, people living in the United States can continue to be governed by a constitution originally meant for a society geographically separated from the rest of the "civilized world." Whether a return to the pristine constitutional institutions of the founding or a translation of these constitutional norms in the present is possible remains the central challenge of U.S. constitutionalism today.

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About the Author:

Mark Tushnet is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is the co-author of a number of books, including the most widely used casebook on constitutional law, Constitutional Law (with Stone, Seidman, and Sunstein). Professor Tushnet is the former president of the American Association of Law Schools.

Mark A. Graber is the Jacob A. France Professor of Constitutionalism at the University of Maryland's Francis King Carey School of Law. Professor Graber is the author of many books and articles focusing on American constitutional law, development, theory, and politics. He is the author of A New Introduction to American Constitutionalism (Oxford 2013); Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil (2006); Rethinking Abortion (1996). Professor Graber is the former section head of the Law and Courts section the APSA and the Constitutional Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

Sanford Levinson holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas Law School, Austin. His books include: Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance (Oxford, 2013); Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (And How We the People Can Correct It) (Oxford, 2008); Constitutional Faith; Wrestling with Diversity. Professor Levinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association in 2010.


"The American experience has long been central to global conversations about constitutional law and politics. Whether the United States is viewed as a model or anti-model of comparative experience, engaging with the American case is part of the grammar of contemporary constitutional practice. This outstanding Handbook is an indispensable resource for scholars and practitioners seeking to orient themselves to the American constitutional project. The superb contributions span an extraordinarily wide array of topics and disciplinary approaches, and will stand the test of time as important pieces of scholarship. As a collection, they are every bit as rich and diverse as American constitutionalism itself. Every serious student of constitutional law and politics will profit enormously from closely studying this landmark volume." -Sujit Choudhry, Dean and I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

"The editors have assembled a diverse set of eminent political scientists and legal thinkers to reflect on aspects of the US Constitution over its entire history. No substantial issue is neglected and many points of view are argued and argued well. The range of topics and depth of treatment are equally impressive as is the sense the achievements of the Constitution are likely to remain an open and fertile issue at least for another quarter millennium. After that we may be able to agree." -John Ferejohn, Samuel Tilden Professor of Law, New York University Law School

"These extraordinary scholars -- established and rising stars -- provide a comprehensive, insightful, and much-needed interdisciplinary perspective on the U.S. Constitution. Up-to-date, modern, and provocative, The Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution is an indispensable overview of a field of study that is richer than most people realize. Everyone with an interest in the topic will learn something important from this volume." - Howard Gillman, Chancellor and Professor of Law, Political Science, and History, University of California, Irvine

"This impressive tome, edited by distinguished and prolific law professors Tushnet (Harvard Law School), Graber (Univ. of Maryland's Francis King Carey School of Law), and Levinson (Univ. of Texas Law School, Austin) consists of an introduction and 47 concise, well-edited essays. Notable law professors, political scientists, historians, and other scholars from a wide variety of institutions offer summaries of existing scholarship on numerous issues, accompanied by footnotes and bibliographical information. The handbook will be an essential resource for those seeking balanced and informative introductions to broader, fundamental constitutional questions. Essential." - J. R. Vile, Middle Tennessee State University, Choice

"In analysing the multiple elements of this unique culture and their complex interplay along with the various contradictions generated by the operation of a constitution designed to prevent the rise of political parties, interest group politics, and an entrenched bureaucracy by those very same groups and institutions, the Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution succeeds brilliantly." - Rainer Grote, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (ZaöRV)

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