The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction

Paperback | April 10, 2000

byAkhil Reed Amar

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Are the deep insights of Hugo Black, William Brennan, and Felix Frankfurter that have defined our cherished Bill of Rights fatally flawed? With meticulous historical scholarship and elegant legal interpretation a leading scholar of Constitutional law boldly answers yes as he explodes conventional wisdom about the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution in this incisive new account of our most basic charter of liberty. Akhil Reed Amar brilliantly illuminates in rich detail not simply the text, structure, and history of individual clauses of the 1789 Bill, but their intended relationships to each other and to other constitutional provisions. Amar’s corrective does not end there, however, for as his powerful narrative proves, a later generation of antislavery activists profoundly changed the meaning of the Bill in the Reconstruction era. With the Fourteenth Amendment, Americans underwent a new birth of freedom that transformed the old Bill of Rights.

We have as a result a complex historical document originally designed to protect the people against self-interested government and revised by the Fourteenth Amendment to guard minority against majority. In our continuing battles over freedom of religion and expression, arms bearing, privacy, states’ rights, and popular sovereignty, Amar concludes, we must hearken to both the Founding Fathers who created the Bill and their sons and daughters who reconstructed it.
Amar’s landmark work invites citizens to a deeper understanding of their Bill of Rights and will set the basic terms of debate about it for modern lawyers, jurists, and historians for years to come.

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From Our Editors

Akhil Reed Amar, renowned Yale scholar of U.S. constitutional law and author of The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles, presents this acute appraisal of the motivation behind the creation of the Bill of Rights. Encompassing both its text and structure, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction takes readers...

From the Publisher

Are the deep insights of Hugo Black, William Brennan, and Felix Frankfurter that have defined our cherished Bill of Rights fatally flawed? With meticulous historical scholarship and elegant legal interpretation a leading scholar of Constitutional law boldly answers yes as he explodes conventional wisdom about the first ten amendments t...

Akhil Reed Amar is Southmayd Professor of Law at Yale. He is the author of scores of articles on constitutional law and criminal procedure, as well as The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles, published by Yale University Press.

other books by Akhil Reed Amar

America's Constitution: A Biography
America's Constitution: A Biography

Paperback|Sep 12 2006

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:April 10, 2000Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300082770

ISBN - 13:9780300082777

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From Our Editors

Akhil Reed Amar, renowned Yale scholar of U.S. constitutional law and author of The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles, presents this acute appraisal of the motivation behind the creation of the Bill of Rights. Encompassing both its text and structure, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction takes readers on a memorable historical voyage and reveals the influence of the antislavery movement in the creation of the 1789 Bill.