Northern Illinois University Press

America's Jeffersonian Experiment

Remaking State Constitutions, 1820–1850

Laura J. Scalia

"Not only informs the field of political theory but also adds to the existing literature in American constitutional, legal, and political history."—Kermit Hall, Ohio State University

"Fulfills its claim of enriching our 'understanding of the nature and purpose of constitutions.'"—Publius

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, friends and fellow statesmen, had radically different views about constitutionalism. While Madison worried that frequent amendments would endanger the security of rights, Jefferson recommended subjecting constitutions and their embedded principles to regular popular scrutiny.

Exploring the wider implications of Jeffersonian democracy, Scalia argues that early nineteenth-century constitutional reform in seven representative states—Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, North Carolina, and Louisiana—shows a surprising unity in republican ideology and in American political identity.

(1999) 232 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-244-2
cloth $44.00

Table of Contents

Introduction: Jeffersonian Constitutionalism
PART I: Debates over Defining Rights
1 The Origin of Rights
2 Reformers and Popular Sovereignty
3 Antireformers and Property
PART II: Debates over Protecting Rights
4 Virtue and Government
5 Human Nature and Good Citizenship
Conclusion: America's Constitutional Traditions

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-244-2
cloth $44.00