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Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696–1782), one of the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, was a judge in the supreme courts of Scotland and wrote extensively on morals, religion, education, aesthetics, history, political economy, and law, including natural law. His most distinctive contribution came through his works on the nature of law, where he sought to combine a philosophical approach with an empirical history of legal evolution.
Mary Catherine Moran taught in the Department of History at Columbia University.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Or, The Right Constitution of a Commonwealth
Hugo Grotius is one of the most important thinkers in the early-modern period. A great humanistic polymath—lawyer and legal theorist, diplomat and political philosopher, ecumenical activist and theologian—his work was seminal for modern natural law and influenced the moral, political, legal, and theological thought of the Enlightenment, from Hobbes, Pufendorf, and Locke to Rousseau and Kant, as well as America’s Founding leaders.David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of The Ideological Origins of the British Empire and The Declaration of Independence: A Global History; the editor of Theories of Empire, 1450–1800; and the co-editor of The British Atlantic World, 1500–1800,Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought, and The Age of Revolutions in Global Context, c. 1760–1840.
Richard Hakluyt (d. 1616) was a geographer, editor, and translator of travel literature. Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Those who value individual freedom should reassess the place of the individual within the legal system as a whole. It is no longer a question of defending this or that particular freedom. . . . It is a question of deciding whether individual freedom is compatible in principle with the present system centered on . . . legislation.
—Bruno Leoni, from the introduction
The greatest obstacle to rule of law in our time, contends the author of this thought-provoking work, is the problem of overlegislation. In modern democratic societies, legislative bodies are increasingly usurping functions that were and should be exercised by individuals or groups rather than government. The result is an unwieldy surfeit of laws and regulations that by their sheer volume stifle individual freedom.
Bruno Leoni (1913–1967) was an attorney and Professor of Legal Theory and the Theory of the State at the University of Pavia, Italy.
Arthur Kemp is Professor Emeritus of Economics, at Claremont McKenna College.
In his famous Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Edmund Burke excoriated French revolutionary leaders for recklessly destroying France's venerable institutions and way of life. But his war against the French intelligentsia did not end there, and Burke continued to take pen in hand against the Jacobins until his death in 1797.
This new collection brings together for the first time Burke's most important essays and letters on the French Revolution. There are seven items in the collection. Taken together, they anticipate, refine, and embellish Burke's Reflections. Included are Burke's "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," in which he assails Jean Jacques Rousseau, the patron saint of the French Revolution; Burke's "Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs," in which he presents his classic defense of the Glorious Revolution of 1688; and his "A Letter to a Noble Lord," in which he defends his life and career against his detractors and, according to John Morley, writes "the most splendid repartee in the English language."
A foreword and headnotes to each selection point the reader to some of the key issues.
Daniel E. Ritchie is Professor of English Literature at Bethel College.
George Washington: A Collection is an important addition to the literature on the American Revolution. The book provides a splendid introduction to Washington and his political beliefs, to the events of the Revolution through which he lived, and to the eighteenth-century world.
—Pauline Maier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
George Washington speaks for himself on behalf of liberty and the emerging American republic in this handsome book, the only one-volume compilation in print of his vast writings.
While every American recognizes Washington as a military leader and the great symbolic figure of the early republic, many fail to appreciate the full measure of Washington's contributions to the country. In these selections, his political ideas and judgments stand out with remarkable clarity. His writings are replete with sustained, thoughtful commentary. Washington must now be acknowledged as a man of keen political insight as well as a national hero.
Drawing extensively on his correspondence, this volume also includes all of his presidential addresses, various public proclamations, his last will and testament, and the most comprehensive recompilation of the "discarded first inaugural" ever printed.
W. B. Allen is Professor of Political Philosophy and Director of the Program in Public Policy and Administration at Michigan State University.
The Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny.
— Raoul Berger
It is the thesis of this monumentally argued book that the United States Supreme Court—largely through abuses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution—has embarked on "a continuing revision of the Constitution, under the guise of interpretation." Consequently, the Court has subverted America's democratic institutions and wreaked havoc upon Americans' social and political lives.
One of the first constitutional scholars to question the rise of judicial activism in modern times, Raoul Berger points out that "the Supreme Court is not empowered to rewrite the Constitution, that in its transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment it has demonstrably done so. Thereby the Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny, an awesome exercise of power."
The Court has accomplished this transformation by ignoring or actually distorting the original intent of both the framers and the supporters of the Fourteenth Amendment. In school desegregation and legislative reapportionment cases, for example, the Court manipulated the history, meaning, and purpose of the amendment's Equal Protection Clause in order to achieve a desired political result. In cases involving First Amendment freedoms and the rights of the accused, the judges converted the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause into a vehicle for the nationalization of the Bill of Rights. Yet these actions were nothing less than "usurpations" that robbed "from the States a power that unmistakably was left to them."
This new second edition includes the original text of 1977 and extensive supplementary discourses in which the author assesses and rebuts the responses of his critics.
Raoul Berger retired in 1976 as Charles Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History, Harvard University.