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Download The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government epub

by Richard A. Epstein

American liberals and conservatives alike take for granted a progressive view of the Constitution that took root in the early twentieth century. Richard Epstein laments this complacency which, he believes, explains America's current economic malaise and political gridlock. Steering clear of well-worn debates between defenders of originalism and proponents of a living Constitution, Epstein employs close textual reading, historical analysis, and political and economic theory to urge a return to the classical liberal theory of governance that animated the framers' original text, and to the limited government this theory supports.

Grounded in the thought of Locke, Hume, Madison, and other Enlightenment figures, the classical liberal tradition emphasized federalism, restricted government, separation of powers, property rights, and economic liberties. The most serious challenge to this tradition, Epstein contends, has come from New Deal progressives and their intellectual defenders. Unlike Thomas Paine, who saw government as a necessary evil at best, the progressives embraced government as a force for administering social good. The Supreme Court has unwisely ratified the progressive program by sustaining an ever-lengthening list of legislative programs at odds with the classical liberal Constitution.

Epstein's carefully considered analysis addresses both halves of the constitutional enterprise: its structural safeguards against excessive government power and its protection of individual rights. He illuminates contemporary disputes ranging from presidential prerogatives to health care legislation, while reexamining such enduring topics as the institution of judicial review, the federal government's role in regulating economic activity, freedom of speech and religion, and equal protection.

Download The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government epub
ISBN: 0674724895
ISBN13: 978-0674724891
Category: Law
Subcategory: Constitutional Law
Author: Richard A. Epstein
Language: English
Publisher: Harvard University Press; First Edition edition (January 6, 2014)
Pages: 704 pages
ePUB size: 1979 kb
FB2 size: 1912 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 837
Other Formats: docx rtf lit azw

Tour de force. A pleasure to read, profound philosophically, full of arresting insights, and for the most part free of technical language. Understandable for the most part by a non-lawyer non-specialist. For lawyers and political specialists, utterly brilliant exposition of 200+ years of key issues. Although Epstein disagrees with most others, left and right, old and new, academic and judicial, his analyses are so compelling that you will find yourself wondering if maybe he is right after all and that we would have been better off if the Supreme Court had seen things his way. Though he is critical he is unfailingly gracious to those he disagrees with and accurately, even persuasively, sets forth their views before - usually - demolishing them. In the end, then, the reader finishes with an understanding of all sides of all the debates - from chartering the first national bank through Obamacare, from originalism to libertarianism to pragmatic progressivism, As a result, the reader can make his own judgments, but may be surprised to find how often he ends up agreeing with Epstein rather than with the views he had before he picked up the book.. Throughout the style is extremely clear and elegant. Even complex matters are made understandable.
An excellently detailed and erudite survey of constitutional law and the foundational principles of classical liberalism that undergird the constitution. Epstein, whom I recently had the pleasure of meeting in person, possesses an intellect of staggering breadth and subtlety. Unfortunately, his writing in this book can be very difficult to follow at times, especially when he analyzes Supreme Court cases (which he does for the vast majority of the book). Sometimes Epstein will astound you with his ability to simplify intricate legal arguments and principles, but other times it seems like he is describing things in the most confusing, opaque, and long-winded way possible. Nevertheless, the introduction, the first three chapters, and the conclusion are excellent and accessible summaries of Epstein’s most interesting arguments concerning the proper interpretation of the Constitution. I believe they would even stand alone well as a separate volume. However, I would mainly recommend the chapters in between (all 30 of them) to those looking for a difficult read that will challenge and refine your powers of textual comprehension or to readers who are already quite familiar with constitutional jurisprudence.
You can read shorter books, but not better ones on the history of the hijacking of the U.S. Constitution. Read this one. I understood the constitution as it stands today for the first time. Here's hopping we can get it back.
Epstein's tome is a modern classic. I would have been well served to have this as a text for a limited government course, a graduate reading, even in law school to complement a Constitutional law class. If you want to understand the historic and philosophical basis for maximum freedom in a (regrettably) big government era, get this book!
Dr Epstein remains the smartest man alive on the U.S. Constitution and economic market theory on land, labor, capital or the law!
Academic but very inteeresting
Smart and insightful
This is a big book, no doubt. But you will be impressed at how fast Professor Epstein's great writing takes you through the chapters. The clarity of the writing reflects the underlying clarity of thought in this book. The ideas developed here are the result of a lifetime of thinking and writing about constitutional issues, political philosophy, economics, and policy. But there is more. Epstein carefully integrates themes from private and public law into his constitutional analysis. The Classical Liberal Constitution is an extremely important book not only for those who agree with Epstein's approach but also for progressives and conservatives alike who will want to respond to his arguments against them both. The book provides a way out of the intellectual and political dead-end that constitutional jurisprudence has become. If you are interested in law, political philosophy or public choice economics, you'll want to read this.