In writing the constitution, the Founders combined a Lockean theory of politically legitimate power with the political science they had learned from Machiavelli, Harrington, Hume, and Montesquieu to articulate a new conception of constitutional argument. Examining the Founders' humanist analytical methods and working assumptions, this book combines history, political philosophy, and interpretive practice as it demonstrates an alternative exegesis of the Constitution. It clarifies a wide range of interpretive issues of federalism, enumerated rights (religious liberty and free speech), unenumerated rights (the constitutional right to privacy), and equal protection.
"Richard's interpretive theory is persuasive. His broad, humanistic, interdisciplinary approach is a very attractive one. There is much material for thought here."--History
"Richards' thesis is obviously contentious, but its impressive exposition may well have judicial conservatives reeling as they find themselves hoist on their own petard." American Politics Review
"This volume is scholarly and well written, and it advances new and compelling methodologies in legal analysis. It is a significant step forward and highly recommended."--The Annals of the American Academy of Political Science
"His presentation of the framers' understanding of political psychology in support of this claim is illuminating and his book provides a valuable source of references to works in constitutional history and theory."--Ethics
"Within the voluminously accumulating literature resulting not only from the bicentennial celebrations of our political institutions but also from the growing contemporary concerns about human rights and fundamental laws, Richards' though-provoking, well-argued, and scholarly work on American constitutionalism wins high place." Transactions of the C.S. Pierce Society