Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution - Chapter 1, The Perils of Originalism Summary & Analysis

Jack N. Rakove
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Original Meanings.
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Chapter 1, The Perils of Originalism Summary

The Federal Convention of 1787 takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the convention that leads to the formulation of the United States Constitution, the basis for the American democracy. There are no televisions or radios. There are no tapes to play to tell us what goes on. Yet, that piece of paper that emerges from this convention is still with us today and its meaning is still the subject of intense discussion and debate. How do we know what the original authors of the Constitution mean with their phraseology? This is the basis for the debate concerning originalism.

The only records are the written records of the participants. Some participants, like James Madison, sense the monumental significance of the task they are undertaking. “So Madison urged friends and correspondents to preserve their vital papers, and...

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This section contains 937 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution Study Guide
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