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The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution
The New Deal is often said to represent a sea change in American constitutional history, overturning a century of precedent to permit an expanded federal government, increased regulation of the economy, and eroded property protections. John Compton offers a surprising revision of this familiar narrative, showing that nineteenth-century evangelical Protestants, not New Deal ...more
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In this incredibly insightful book, Professor Compton endeavors to round-out the incomplete picture of the post-New Deal constitutional "revolution" painted by those who believe our Constitution sanctioned a government of enumerated and limited powers. For many in that camp, the narrative tended to paint progressive jurists as baseless usurpers of the traditional constitutional order--mere opportunistic power-seekers who saw in the throes of the Great Depression a chance massively to expand the ...more
A terrific, thought-provoking book by a young scholar who has done his homework. He shows the "living Constitution," which some decry as a product of the Progressives of the 1900s was to some degree a product of some of the thinking and energies of Christians from the Second Great Awakening in their campaigns against alcohol and the lottery which had the effect of weakening property rights and commerce and contract clause issues. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
A worthwhile argument straightforwardly executed. Linking the judiciary innovations of the Progressive Era to evangelical reforms opens up avenues for legal historians and cultural historians to draw on each other's work. The only drawback to this book is its redundancy; each chapter rehashes much of what came before, rendering the main argument rather skeletal.