The Bill of Rights and Federalism: An Interpretation in Light of the Unwritten Constitution

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The Bill of Rights and Federalism: An Interpretation in Light of the Unwritten Constitution

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dc.contributor.advisor Ryn, Claes G en_US
dc.contributor.author Devaney, Joseph S. en_US
dc.contributor.other Destro, Robert en_US
dc.contributor.other Coyle, Dennis en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-24T20:46:11Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-24T20:46:11Z
dc.date.created 2010 en_US
dc.date.issued 2011-02-24T20:46:11Z
dc.identifier.other Devaney_cua_0043A_10104 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1961/9185
dc.description Degree awarded: Ph.D. Politics. The Catholic University of America en_US
dc.description.abstract According to conventional understanding, the primary purpose behind the framing and ratification of the Constitution was to preserve liberty through a form of government that provided for a highly structured system of federalism and separation of powers. The primary purpose behind the framing and ratification of the Bill of Rights was to allay Anti-Federalist fears that the Constitution did not sufficiently secure individual rights. For that reason, the original Constitution is frequently contrasted with the Bill of Rights. Yet distinguishing between the Constitution and the Bill of Rights obscures more about the nature of the Bill of Rights than it discloses. It is agreed that one of the primary Anti-Federalist objections to the Constitution was the absence of a bill of rights. A close examination of the debate over the absence of a bill of rights reveals that the first ten amendments to the Constitution occupy a much more complex place in the constitutional scheme than is commonly assumed. While individual rights did constitute an important theme during the ensuing debate concerning the importance of a bill of rights, they were not the only theme or even the prevailing theme. A historically, philosophically, and textually informed examination of the Bill of Rights reveals that it was attentive to constitutional structure and was intended to reinforce the commitment to federalism in the original Constitution. The Federal government could not intrude upon the subtle and often fragile social and legal arrangements pertaining to such matters which evolved over a long period of time at the state level. These prerogatives were protected by the several state constitutions, state statutes, and the unwritten common law. This study challenges the conventional wisdom and decades of constitutional jurisprudence, which have assumed that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to guarantee individual rights. If properly interpreted, the Bill of Rights would serve to decentralize authority, leaving many more decisions to the states and what Robert Nisbet described as "autonomous associations." en_US
dc.format.extent 233 p. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en_US
dc.language eng en_US
dc.publisher The Catholic University of America en_US
dc.subject Political Science, General en_US
dc.subject Law en_US
dc.subject Legal Studies en_US
dc.subject.other Bill of RIGHTS en_US
dc.subject.other James Madison en_US
dc.subject.other Ninth Amendment en_US
dc.subject.other Tenth Amendment en_US
dc.subject.other U.S. Constitution en_US
dc.subject.other Unwritten Constitution en_US
dc.title The Bill of Rights and Federalism: An Interpretation in Light of the Unwritten Constitution en_US
dc.type Text en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US


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