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The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution

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The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The founding of the United States after the American Revolution was so deliberate, so inspired, and so monumental in scope that the key actors considered this new government to be a work of art framed from natural rights. Recognizing the artificial nature of the state, these early politicians believed the culture of a people should inform the development of their governing rules and bodies. Eric Slauter explores these central ideas in this extensive and novel account of the origins and meanings of the Constitution of the United States. Slauter uncovers the hidden cultural histories upon which the document rests, highlights the voices of ordinary people, and considers how the artifice of the state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.

 

A complement to classic studies of the Constitutions economic, ideological, and political origins, The State as a Work of Art sheds new light on the origins of the Constitution and on ongoing debates over its interpretation.

Synopsis:

For American revolutionaries, governments were works of art framed from natural rights. Since states were inherently artificial, early American politicians believed the culture of a people must be consulted when determining what form of government is best for them. Eric Slauter explores these central ideas and offers a wide-ranging and new account of the origins and meanings of the Constitution of the United States. Uncovering the hidden cultural histories upon which the document rests and highlighting the voices of ordinary people, he also asks how the artifice of the state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.

A complement to classic studies of the Constitutions economic, ideological, and political origins, The State as a Work of Art will speak meaningfully to anyone interested in the origins of the Constitution, in struggles over its interpretation, or in contemporary questions about what constitutions are and do.

About the Author

Eric Slauter is associate professor of English and director of the Karla Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Culture and Constitutionalism

              A Note on Constitutional Interpretation

Prologue: The Fools Contest

I. The State as a Work of Art

Chapter 1. Making a Government of Laws

Chapter 2. Aesthetics and the Science of Politics

Chapter 3. The Matter and Meaning of Representation

 

II. The Culture of Natural Rights

Chapter 4. Slavery and the Language of Rights

Chapter 5. Being Alone in the Age of the Social Contract

Chapter 6. The Godless Constitution and the Sacred Rights of Man

 

Epilogue: The Age of Constitutions

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226761954
Author:
Slauter, Eric
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Constitutional
Subject:
United States - Revolutionary War
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
State, the
Subject:
Constitutional history -- United States.
Subject:
Constitutional law -- United States.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Morality and Society
Publication Date:
20090431
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
23 halftones, 5 line drawings
Pages:
392
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Constitutional Law
History and Social Science » US History » Revolution and Constitution Era
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution New Hardcover
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Product details 392 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226761954 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
For American revolutionaries, governments were works of art framed from natural rights. Since states were inherently artificial, early American politicians believed the culture of a people must be consulted when determining what form of government is best for them. Eric Slauter explores these central ideas and offers a wide-ranging and new account of the origins and meanings of the Constitution of the United States. Uncovering the hidden cultural histories upon which the document rests and highlighting the voices of ordinary people, he also asks how the artifice of the state was challenged in its effort to sustain inalienable natural rights alongside slavery and to achieve political secularization at a moment of growing religious expression.

A complement to classic studies of the Constitutions economic, ideological, and political origins, The State as a Work of Art will speak meaningfully to anyone interested in the origins of the Constitution, in struggles over its interpretation, or in contemporary questions about what constitutions are and do.

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