Orchestrating the Second American Revolution: A Revealing Look at Why the U.S. Constitution Was Actually Adopted

Review: “The Quartet – Orchestrating The Second American Revolution, 1783–1789,” by Joseph J. Ellis (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015)

“In the long run – and this was probably Madison’s most creative insight – the multiple ambiguities embedded in the Constitution made it an inherently ‘living’ document.  For it was designed not to offer clear answers to the sovereignty question (or, for that matter, to the scope of executive or judicial authority) but instead to provide a political arena in which arguments about those contested issues could continue in a deliberative fashion.  The Constitution was intended less to resolve arguments than to make argument itself the solution.  For judicial devotees of ‘originalism’ or ‘original intent,’ this should be a disarming insight, since it made the Constitution the foundation for an ever–shifting political dialogue that, like history itself, was an argument without end. Madison’s ‘original intention’ was to make all ‘original intentions’ indefinitely negotiable in the future.”—Joseph J. Ellis, The Quartet  — Read More…

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