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The Second Creation


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Jonathan Gienapp is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. A scholar of early American political culture, he has written several articles on early constitutional history and modern constitutional theory and interpretation that speak to current political concerns.


The greatest innovation of the American Revolution was the idea of a written constitution as supreme fundamental law. But another truly significant development immediately followed the ratification of the Constitution: the equally innovative but deeply controversial invention of modes of constitutional interpretation. Jonathan Gienapp explores how this process unfolded, brilliantly explaining the search for the original meaning of the Constitution.--Jack N. Rakove, author of A Politician Thinking: The Creative Mind of James Madison
The Second Creation is a brilliant and timely intervention in American constitutional history. By showing how 'original intentions' originated in congressional debates about what the framers and ratifiers originally intended, Jonathan Gienapp forces us to take another long look at what we understand the Constitution to be. His innovative and persuasive study will revolutionize the way lawyers as well as scholars interpret the Founding era.--Peter S. Onuf, coauthor of "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination
Gienapp's elegant reconstruction of the contested terrain of early American constitutional interpretation has wide-ranging implications for how we understand the earliest debates over the Constitution's meaning. Gienapp offers fresh and thoughtful reinterpretations of several of the most important debates of this formative period of American constitutional development.--Saul Cornell, author of A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America
Gienapp focuses our attention on the first decade of controversy over the remarkable new invention, a national constitution. His fascinating and provocative story--how these debates created and imagined the Constitution--is told with great mastery and drama.--Mary Sarah Bilder, author of Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

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