Northern Illinois University Press


To Secure the Liberty of the People

James Madison's Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court's Interptetation

Eric T. Kasper

“This is a significant work of scholarship that makes a number of unique and important contributions. The description of how Madison understood the interconnections among the Bill of Rights’ provisions is especially valuable. This book has something new to offer even to readers already familiar with Madison’s writings.”—James H. Read, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University

As the notoriously reluctant author of the Bill of Rights, James Madison has had a profound influence on the American government and legal system. This original study examines Madison’s writings and speeches to explain his views of human nature and his political philosophy. Politicians, scholars, and even Supreme Court justices often look to Madison’s broader body of work for guidance when interpreting the Bill of Rights. Here, Kasper presents an unusually thorough explanation of Madison’s vision of the Bill of Rights in the context of his complete body of political thought.

Unlike other studies of Madison, To Secure the Liberty of the People not only explores the breadth and depth of Madison’s own writings, it also presents a thoughtful look at the philosophers and writers who influenced the Father of the Bill of Rights. Additionally, and perhaps most valuably, Kasper provides a unique examination of modern era Supreme Court justices and the ways in which they have correctly or incorrectly cited Madison and his original intent in their own opinions. This fascinating analysis shows the enduring vibrancy of Madison’s thought—even when misinterpreted—and his ongoing importance in American political thought. Legal historians, legal scholars, and political scientists will find satisfying new perspectives on Madison in this impeccably researched book.

(2010) 311 pp.
ISBN 978-0-87580-421-7
cloth $38.00

Eric T. Kasper is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Barron County. In addition to his Ph.D. in political science, Kasper holds a J.D. and is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association.

Shopping Cart Operations


ISBN: 978-0-87580-421-7
To Secure the Liberty of the People $38.00