Combining cases and text, this volume examines constitutional law in a unique, developmental framework that shows how key events through American history have shaped the Supreme Court's understanding of the Constitution. Because one of the major teaching challenges in the first half of constitutional law is helping students to see how we got from "there" to "here" in the real world of national and federal politics, American Constitutional Development offers a unique developmental framework for understanding constitutional law regarding the powers of government. The book examines the great issues and events of politics in the early, middle, and modern constitutions, how they have shaped the Supreme Court's understanding of the Constitution, and how the distributive consequences of that understanding, in turn, affect American political life. In looking at how constitutional law has developed, this volume provides the necessary context for understanding such modern constitutional problems as the separation of powers, federalism, and regulation of property.
It expressly avoids the "law school approach" to constitutional law with its narrow focus on doctrine and formulaic topical organization which often leads to disjointed leaps backward and forward among cases politically and historically. The aim of this volume is not to teach undergraduates how to advise legal clients and win cases, but to give them a deeper, truer understanding of constitutional law, our political system, and how it got to be the way it is.