To hear many modern politicians tell it, the federal government is the worst thing that ever happened to the American people. Federal laws and mandates are portrayed as tyrannical, new amendments to the Constitution are proposed with frightening regularity, and "states' rights" has become the latest rallying cry for "patriots" everywhere. In response to this discontent, the 20th Century Fund commissioned New Federalist Papers, a collection of essays in defense of the Constitution. The three authors, Alan Brinkley, Kathleen M. Sullivan, and Nelson W. Polsby, are all academics--Brinkley teaches history at Columbia, Sullivan is a law professor at Stanford, and Polsby teaches political science at Berkeley--and each approaches the Consititution from his or her particular field of study. Brinkley examines the history of the federal government, which was formed precisely to guard against the tyranny smaller entities such as the states could impose, then points out how far the American people have strayed from the assumptions underlying the Constitution: a well-informed, civic-minded public that takes seriously its responsibility to vote. Polsby points out how well they've managed to govern such a large and disparate territory, while Sullivan explores current attempts to impose new policies through Constitutional amendment, using the miserable failure of the Prohibition amendment as a cautionary tale.
In an era when the majority of Americans receive their news in sound bites and the solution to every problem is a facile cry to dismantle the government, New Federalist Papers is a refreshing return to the principles on which the country was founded, most of which have been misinterpreted, misconstrued, or just plain misunderstood somewhere along the way; after all, citizens should understand what they've got before they decide to throw it away.Three prominent and highly visible writers confront the threats posed by current challenges to the American Constitution. In the aftermath of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, three of its most gifted participants--Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay--wrote a series of eighty-five essays, published in newspapers throughout the nation, defending the proposed new government against its opponents. Those essays, known today as the Federalist Papers, explain the philosophical basis of the Constitution and defend the idea of republican government against charges that it would lead to tyranny. Today's political controversies call into question some of the principles that have shaped government through most of this century. New Federalist Papers, written by three constitutional experts, defends the representative democracy put in place by the framers of the Constitution. Like Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, the authors of New Federalist Papers see danger in the effort to diminish and relocate federal power. They recognize that it is the task of public discourse to bring about reasoned consideration of such issues as gun control, term limits, flag burning, the balanced budget amendment, and campaign finance reform.
|Book:||New Federalist Papers: Essays In Defense Of The Constitution (A Twentieth Century Fund Book)|
|Author:||Alan Brinkley Kathleen M. Sullivan Nelson W. Polsby|
|Publisher:||W. W. Norton & Company|
|Number of Pages:||192|
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