By Kathleen S. Sullivan
While the us used to be based on summary ideas of convinced "unalienable rights," its felony traditions are dependent in British universal legislation, a truth lengthy decried by means of revolutionary reformers. universal legislations, the grievance is going, ignores summary rights rules in prefer of culture, successfully denying equality to massive segments of the inhabitants.
The nineteenth-century women’s rights circulation embraced this argument, claiming that universal legislation ideas of estate and married women’s prestige have been at odds with the nation's dedication to equality. traditional knowledge means that this tactic helped pave the way in which for vote casting rights and higher jobs. In Constitutional Context, Kathleen S. Sullivan offers a clean perspective.
In revisiting the era’s congressional debates, country laws, judicial evaluations, information money owed, and paintings of political activists, Sullivan unearths that the argument for common, summary rights used to be now not the one, or top, course on hand for social switch. instead of erecting a brand new paradigm of absolute rights, she argues, women’s rights activists unwittingly undermined universal law’s skill to redress grievances, contributing seriously to the social, cultural, and political stagnation that characterizes where of girls and the move today.
A hard and considerate examine of what's in general considered an period of growth, Constitutional Context offers the foundation for a extra accomplished figuring out and interpretation of constitutional law.
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Extra resources for Constitutional Context: Women and Rights Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America (The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought)
Story’s position indicates the limited use of Bentham’s ideas. 65 The codiﬁcation movement, however, valued simplicity not because codiﬁers hoped for simple, clear principles derived with scientiﬁc methods but because simplicity captured the ease of accessibility to the law that they sought. Codiﬁers used the familiar language of simplicity but not as legal positivists. With its transfer of lawmaking from court to legislature, the institutional shift to the legislature did not imply any positivist shift to an authoritative source of law, but merely the transcriptions of a recording secretary.
Despite its pragmatic goals, the legal reform movement of codiﬁcation invited a fundamental reconsideration of the common-law method and regulations in the United States. The philosophical origins of codiﬁcation promised that the certainty and scientiﬁc methods of positivism would replace the less certain methods of common-law judicial decision making. The discourse of the codiﬁcation movement during the early decades of the nineteenth century proves important not so much as a study of codiﬁcation as a reﬂection of the philosophic position of American legal thought in regard to the fundamental tenets of positivism.
24 Discerning the rules of the common law was a manly endeavor, one in which those who studied the common law had to do the work for themselves. They had to determine what the law was rather than having the meaning of the law handed down to them from some higher authority. Judicial decision making likewise protected freedom. For Blackstone, the common law was the product of judicial decision making over time, but those decisions were themselves all in accordance with natural law. 26 In contrast, Blackstone presented the com- 26 the rise of rights mon law as operating under the constraints of a constitutional order.
Constitutional Context: Women and Rights Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America (The Johns Hopkins Series in Constitutional Thought) by Kathleen S. Sullivan