Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS

The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path toward Constitutional Democracy, Elizabeth Beaumont

Reviewed by Emily Zackin

BUY

 

Because the U.S. Constitution’s text has proved so difficult to amend, its meaning has often changed through judicial interpretation. Generations of political scientists have understood constitutional development as shifts in U.S. Supreme Court doctrine. In the past two to three decades, however, scholars have begun to emphasize the role of presidents, parties, and political reformers in making constitutional meaning, and all of this constitutional meaning making outside the courts has been dubbed “popular constitutional­ism.” Elizabeth Beaumont’s engaging new book, The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path toward Constitutional Democracy, is an important contribution to this literature.

Beaumont focuses primarily on the creation of new constitutional texts, rather than interpretations, and calls our attention to the way that the mem­bers of the formal institutions that drafted these texts were responding to pressures from those outside. Beaumont’s conception of “civic constitutional­ism” involves ordinary people who advance a welter of constitutional argu­ments challenging and often reshaping the existing conceptions of fundamental law (p. 4). Beaumont convincingly demonstrates that popular constitutional arguments were not a mere backdrop to the real task of writing and a

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

Broken Trust: Dysfunctional Government and Constitutional Reform, Stephen M. Griffin Reviewed by EMILY ZACKIN

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Primaries and Conventions for 2020

On To the Convention, Again
Caroline Monahan and Robert Y. Shapiro

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Extending the U.S. Umbrella and Increasing Chances of War   THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: EXTENDING THE U.S. UMBRELLA AND INCREASING CHANCES OF WAR

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

The Greater Good Gathering: Technology, Community, and the Greater Good
February 6–7, 2019
New York, NY

The Greater Good Gathering conference explored the future of public policy and how best to advance the greater good in the 21st century in light of technological innovation, economic disruption, ideological polarization, and governance challenges.

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS