Rewriting the United States Constitution: An Examination of Proposals from Reconstruction to the Present

Rewriting the United States Constitution: An Examination of Proposals from Reconstruction to the Present

Rewriting the United States Constitution: An Examination of Proposals from Reconstruction to the Present

Rewriting the United States Constitution: An Examination of Proposals from Reconstruction to the Present

Synopsis

In this unique historical work, Vile analyzes over forty proposals to rewrite the U.S. Constitution. In each case he examines the substance of the proposal, the author's goals and methods as well as response to the proposal and its overall influence. He concludes that the Constitution in its current form faces no immediate threats, but that it is important to understand alternative forms of government and the basis for their support. When constitutional change ultimately does come, earlier criticisms and suggestions may help to set the agenda.

Excerpt

This book is written both as a narrative history of proposals for a new constitution and as a resource tool. the first chapter attempts to explain, in brief compass, the constitutional amending mechanism in the United States and to recount its history; this chapter also outlines the questions to be asked in this book. the subsequent chapters describe individual reform proposals, grouping thern into rough historical time periods. the final chapter summarizes key findings of this study.

If, after having read the first chapter of this book, readers desire information about individual proposals or about particular time periods, they should be able to turn to their discussion with relative ease, using the final chapter to compare the proposals that most interest them with other plans about which they may be less interested. Readers who share the author's fascination with unresolved issues surrounding the amending process, as well as those seeking more information about individuals who have proposed new constitutions, are urged to consult the notes at the end of each chapter. They contain many references that should prove of value to those desiring further information but that may be skipped by others interested in obtaining a more general view of the subject.

As I indicate in the last chapter, I have no hidden agenda to advance in this book. While I fear neither the regular amending process nor the possibility of another constitutional convention, this book is not written to argue for the exercise of either. Indeed, I do not believe that the Constitution currently needs rewriting. I do think that the Constitution can benefit from continuing reflection, and that few documents are more deserving of academic study. I trust that my own work will provide a worthy contribution to this scholarship.

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