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book reviews273 form of dating. The edition is meticulous and well illustrated and is enhanced by valuable drawings and maps by the diarist, appendixes of reports and documents pertaining to Manigault or his journal, lists of military units engaged in the defense of Charleston, a glossary, and an index. The tantalizingly brief amount of recorded information on Manigault 's early and later life is assembled in the editor's introduction. Students and buffs of the Civil War alike will find this book a welcome addition to the Civil War bookshelf. Laylon Wayne Jordan College of Charleston A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture . By Michael Kämmen. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986. Pp. xxii, 532. $29.95.) During the Watergate summer of 1973 1 was sitting in the University of Chicago Law Library when two law professors walked by, intensely discussing thenature of an impeachable offence. Finally, one of the two blurted out, "maybeweought to go read the Constitution and seewhat it says." Reading A Machine ThatWould Go of Itself reminded me of that incident. One key theme of this book is that Americans revere and respect their Constitution but few of them actually read the document. Indeed, the document itself has often been the Rodney Dangerfield of American political icons. "In 1866 it was appropriately placed at the Washington Orphan Asylum. In 1875, after the State Departmentmoved to the old War and State building, authorities relegated the U .S. Constitution to celler storage" (p. 73) . In 1882 thehistorian J. Franklin Jameson found the Constitution "folded up in a little tin box in the lower part of the closet" in the State Department basement (p. 127). "There it remained , except for a few ceremonial occasions" until 1921. The original copy of the Bill of Rights remained in the cellar, stored in a cabinet with seven ceremonial swords from Japan and Haiti. Kämmen comments: "Out of sight, and almost out of mind. It's not a very edifying story, especially considering the constant use of words like 'wonderful,' 'sacred,' and 'reverence' to precede any allusion to the Constitution throughout the nineteenth century" (p. 73). This dichotomy between public adulation for the Constitution and public knowledge and understanding of it, is the major theme of this book. Kämmen's book is unusually rich in details and quotations. Kämmen has for the most part ignored traditional sources in Constitutional history—this is not a book about law. Instead, using the papers of constitutional scholars, articles in popular magazines, the records of the Constitution 's centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations, and public school text books, Kämmen shows how Americans have venerated, ignored , and misunderstood the Constitution. This book serves to remind 274CIVIL WAR HISTORY those of us who teach history that we have done a poor job in educating the public about the Constitution. Thebook offers us only the grim satisfaction of knowing this is nothing new—indeed, it has been going on since the 1790s. In 1860 only one state, California, required that the Constitution be taught in the public schools. This may have been just as well, because in antebellum America instruction about the Constitution "usually meant a shamefully short considertion ofwhat had happened at the Philadelphia Convention" (p. 81). Part of Kämmens main theme is that Americans not only do not read or understand the Constitution, but even those interested in public affairs do not follow the development of the judiciary. Kämmen reminds those of us interested in the Middle Period that Dred Scott made its way through the court systems from 1846 to 1855 without anyone noticing it, or anticipating its importance. He notes that "As late as the 1830s Supreme Court Reports did not enjoy extensive circulation, even among lawyers. Thus, the Dartmouth College Case "did not attract much interest at the time, nor was its importance fully appreciated" (p. 85). Similarly , Kämmen notes that the expansion of Supreme Court jurisdiction in 1875 "received little attention at the time" (p. 96). Unfortunately Kämmen fails to explain the significance of either Dartmouth College or the expanison of Supreme Court jurisdiction for the larger society. Some of Kammen...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 273-274
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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