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The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan: Constitutional Law and the Politics of Backlash. By Gerard N. Magliocca. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. 2011. Pp. x, 238. $40.00. History has not been kind to William Jennings Bryan, portraying him as the man who lost three presidential elections and unpersuasively opposed teaching evolution in the Scopes trial. In The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan, Professor Gerard N. Magliocca argues that Bryan sparked an even larger, though lesser-known, defeat: a dramatic transformation in constitutional law in which the legal and political establishment fought back against Bryan and the Populist movement. In the 1890s, the Supreme Court established several new constitutional principles to thwart the Populists' goals of redistributing wealth, nationalizing industry, and building a biracial political coalition in the South. Magliocca examines both the sociopolitical conditions that led to the Populist movement's rise and the political backlash that caused the movement's fall as evident in Court decisions in the fields of contract, property, tax, and civil liberties. This book--a bold rethinking of the causes and catalysts of constitutional developments during the Progressive Era and beyond--could inspire reevaluations of other social and political movements that had unexpected effects on constitutional interpretation, politics, and the law.

The Judicial Power of the Purse: How Courts Fund National Defense in Times of Crisis. …