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The frozen republic : how the Constitution is paralyzing democracy

Author: Daniel Lazare
Publisher: New York : Harcourt Brace, ©1996.
Edition/Format:   Book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
America is caught in a painful contradiction. On one hand its government is based on the revered words of the Founding Fathers, fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft a new constitution for a new republic. On the other hand its government is in crisis. Confidence is collapsing in everything from Congress and the presidency to the local courts. Yet rather than asking whether the Constitution is
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Lazare, Daniel.
Frozen republic.
New York : Harcourt Brace, c1996
(OCoLC)604343543
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel Lazare
ISBN: 0151000859 9780151000852
OCLC Number: 32626734
Description: 393 p. ; 24 cm.
Contents: 1. Conception --
2. Birth --
3. Breakthrough in Britain --
4. Breakdown in America --
5. Forward to the Past --
6. Constitutional Orthodoxy Restored --
7. Postwar America: The New Isolationism --
8. The Disaster of Watergate --
9. The Civil Liberties Charade --
10. The Unraveling Social Fabric --
11. The Terminal Crisis --
12. The End Is Nigh (We Hope) --
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States.
Responsibility: Daniel Lazare.
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Abstract:

America is caught in a painful contradiction. On one hand its government is based on the revered words of the Founding Fathers, fifty-five men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 to draft a new constitution for a new republic. On the other hand its government is in crisis. Confidence is collapsing in everything from Congress and the presidency to the local courts. Yet rather than asking whether the Constitution is a factor in the breakdown, Americans blame their representatives in Washington, the press, or even themselves - everyone and anyone except the men who created the government in the first place.

In this bold new book Daniel Lazare argues that in fact the Founders have a great deal to answer for. Fearing that unhampered majority rule would lead to tyranny, they devised a system that would scatter power rather than concentrate it. The fear that indebted farmers would seize control of the new government, James Madison conceded, led the Constitutional Convention to create a system that was beyond anyone's grasp. Since then, the system has hobbled forward under its own steam.

The results are all around us. Government is bigger than ever, yet no more coherent than it was in the eighteenth century. Politics are incoherent as well, while passions are running amok and radical constitutionalists are turning to violence to achieve their goals. The real solution, Lazare contends, is for us to rethink government from top to bottom. Instead of looking over our shoulders at the Founders, Americans should cast off centuries-old constitutional constraints and begin applying modern solutions to modern problems in as unencumbered a fashion as possible.

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