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|Additional Physical Format:||Online version:
New York : Harcourt Brace, c1996
|All Authors / Contributors:||
|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.
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.