The Reopening of the American Mind: On Skepticism and Constitutionalism
Rodopi, 1998 - 274 páginas
The Reopening of the American Mind: On Skepticism and Constitutionalism explores the connection of moderate skepticism with attachment to constitutionalism through the thought of five writers. The features of this skepticism were concisely delineated by James Madison in the 37th Federalist as a recognition of the complexity of political matters, the limitations of human reason, and the shortcomings of language. The position was first articulated by Cicero who connected it with the idea of a mixed or republican constitution developed by trial and error over generations. Cicero was influential in the world of David Hume, Edmund Burke, and Madison. The skeptical/constitutional connection found its most articulate recent advocate in Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and underlay his advocacy of judicial restraint.
Current events have revived interest in the primacy of the legislative branch in balancing interests and rights, in the States as laboratories for democracy, and in an experimental approach to the solution of social problems in what might be called a reopening of the American mind.
The five central chapters explore the skeptical/constitutional connection and the spirit of moderation in these political thinkers. Without an appreciation of this tradition of avoiding dogmatism, people will continue to demand simple answers to complex problems. The book is not, however, primarily a tract for the times but a reflection on the on-going search for a more civil world.
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The Flag Salute Cases
Bibliographical and Critical Appendix
The Status of Frankfurter
The Canonical Figures
The Harvard Publications and Their Applications
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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academic action American appear argument authority beginning believed Burke called century character Chicago choice Cicero common concern considered Constitution democracy detail developed dialogue discussion distinction due process effort especially essay example experience facts Felix follow Frankfurter Frankfurter's freedom give ground Holmes human Hume ideas important individual institutions interest interpretation issues judge judgment judicial justice kind knowledge later legislation liberty limited live logic Madison matter means method mind nature never opinion original particular person philosophy political popular position practical present Press principles probable problems question quoted reason recognize reference relation Republic requires responsibility Roman rule says Scipio seems sense simply skepticism social society suggest Supreme Court theory things thought tion tradition truth understanding University writings York
Página 23 - As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other ; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves.
Página 78 - But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
Página 133 - Many of our men of speculation, instead of exploding general prejudices, employ their sagacity to discover the latent wisdom which prevails in them. If they find what they seek, and they seldom fail, they think it more wise to continue the prejudice with the reason involved, than to cast away the coat of prejudice, and to leave nothing but the naked reason...
Página 82 - ... whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.
Página 118 - England, Sir, is a nation, which still I hope respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant ; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas, and on English principles.
Página 128 - The science of constructing a commonwealth, or renovating it, or reforming it, is, like every other experimental science, not to be taught a priori. Nor is it a short experience that can instruct us in that practical science; because the real effects of moral causes are not always immediate...
Página 87 - The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
Página 180 - Even so, they are not of the very essence of a scheme of ordered liberty. To abolish them is not to violate a "principle of justice so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.
Página 23 - By a faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.
Página 24 - ... there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn.