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Legitimacy and History: Self-Government in American Constitutional Theory
by:Professor Paul W. Kahn
This provocative book is both a rich intellectual history of 200 years of American constitutional theory and a major contribution to that theory. Paul Kahn argues that self-government is impossible within the constraints placed on government by the Constitution, and that constitutional theory-which attempts to reconcile self-government and history-will...
This provocative book is both a rich intellectual history of 200 years of American constitutional theory and a major contribution to that theory. Paul Kahn argues that self-government is impossible within the constraints placed on government by the Constitution, and that constitutional theory-which attempts to reconcile self-government and history-will never achieve its goal. "I do not know of another book that participates in the constitutional dialogue with the mixture of historical perspective and acute critical eye displayed in this book. It demonstrates sweep, originality, careful criticism, and flashes of insight throughout."-Steven H. Shiffrin "A fascinating and richly nuanced intellectual history and critique of American constitutional theory. It contains original and important insights not only about historical developments, but also about the predicament of contemporary constitutional thought. . . . Nowhere have I encountered a more engaging book about constitutional theory. Kahn brings a wealth of historical resources to bear, and he offers a probing analytical critique of the materials that he confronts. His description of recent works of constitutional theory is lucid, sometimes more so than the originals. He cuts to the heart of each theoretical effort and deftly exposes its primary weaknesses. . . What is more, he ties his book together with an original and provocative explanation of the historical progression of constitutional thought."-Daniel O. Conkle, Constitutional Commentary "A rich and insightful history of constitutional theory in America."-Leslie Friedman Goldstein, Journal of Politics
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