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The Age of Strict Construction

a history of the growth of federal power, 1789-1861

Peter Zavodnyik

Publication Year: 2011

The Age of Strict Construction explores the growth of the federal government's power and influence between 1789 and 1861, and the varying reactions of Americans to that growth.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedicatopm

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pp. iii-v


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. 1-6

The phrase strict construction has been defined as the “narrow construction of a statute, confining its operation to matters . . . specifically pointed out by its terms, and to cases which fell fairly within its letter.”1 In the context of the Constitution, strict construction provides that the powers of the federal ...

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1. Ratification, 1787–1788

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pp. 7-35

A survey of American Federalism must begin by answering a difficult question: when did federative government arrive in America? Its formal introduction occurred in 1774, when the first Continental Congress took control of foreign affairs while leaving other areas of governmental activity to the ...

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2. The Federalists, 1789–1801

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pp. 36-79

With New York’s ratification of the Constitution, the country moved into an uneasy phase during which one government lapsed while another came to life. Many Americans continued to fear that the nation was too large and diverse to be ruled by a single entity. Fearful that the new government would ...

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3. The Republicans, 1801–1829

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pp. 80-144

Although John Adams almost won the presidential contest, Federalists sustained a drubbing in the 1800–1801 congressional elections. Republicans took over the Senate (18-14) and won almost two-thirds of the seats in the House (66-40). They did not take long to exploit their advantage. At Jefferson’s ...

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4. The Market Republic, 1829–1850

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pp. 145-246

Following the War of 1812, fundamental economic shifts began to occur. In time they greatly altered the role of government, particularly at the state level. Most of the changes arose out of the Industrial Revolution. Americans began to leave their farms and become wage earners. They became ...

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5. The Fall of the Republic, 1850–1861

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pp. 247-351

While the country drew a sigh of relief with the passage of the compromise acts, underlying tensions worsened. The Whig Party began to disintegrate despite the fact that it was the more moderate party in a time when virtue was supposedly prized. There were several reasons for this, among them the ...

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pp. 352-356

For seventy-two years the American experiment in constitutional government enjoyed enormous success. A handful of communities along the seaboard burgeoned into an industrial and agricultural colossus, well on its way to first place among nations. The Constitution and the government it established ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 357-361


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pp. 363-372

E-ISBN-13: 9780813217062
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215044

Page Count: 383
Publication Year: 2011