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Our Republican Constitution

Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People

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About the Book

A concise history of the long struggle between two fundamentally opposing constitutional traditions, from one of the nation’s leading constitutional scholars—a manifesto for renewing our constitutional republic.

The Constitution of the United States begins with the words: “We the People.” But from the earliest days of the American republic, there have been two competing notions of “the People,” which lead to two very different visions of the Constitution.

Those who view “We the People” collectively think popular sovereignty resides in the people as a group, which leads them to favor a “democratic” constitution that allows the “will of the people” to be expressed by majority rule. In contrast, those who think popular sovereignty resides in the people as individuals contend that a “republican” constitution is needed to secure the pre-existing inalienable rights of “We the People,” each and every one, against abuses by the majority.

In Our Republican Constitution, renowned legal scholar Randy E. Barnett tells the fascinating story of how this debate arose shortly after the Revolution, leading to the adoption of a new and innovative “republican” constitution; and how the struggle over slavery led to its completion by a newly formed Republican Party. Yet soon thereafter, progressive academics and activists urged the courts to remake our Republican Constitution into a democratic one by ignoring key passes of its text. Eventually, the courts complied.

Drawing from his deep knowledge of constitutional law and history, as well as his experience litigating on behalf of medical marijuana and against Obamacare, Barnett explains why “We the People” would greatly benefit from the renewal of our Republican Constitution, and how this can be accomplished in the courts and the political arena.

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Critical Praise

“Liberty is an old story and every generation has found advocates to retell it. Randy Barnett offers a succinct, informed, and compelling version of one of the best such stories.” —Claremont Review of Books

“Barnett has a gift for the clear exposition of complicated ideas, and curious, intelligent, but non-expert readers will learn much about the battle for the soul of the Constitution from this book.” —the Washington Free Beacon

“Our Republican Constitution is simultaneously intellectually rigorous and a real page-turner, filled with dramatic anecdotes that illustrate Barnett’s powerful and provocative argument that routine deference to elected legislators is the wrong way to interpret the Constitution or create a rich and flourishing society.” —Reason.com

Barnett is not only one of the most important constitutional scholars of our time, but he advocates brilliantly for the restoration of our Republic by embracing our Constitution and defending individual sovereignty. This is a very important book for constitutional conservatives and all Americans who love liberty and the country. —Mark R. Levin, lawyer, radio host and author of Plunder and Deceit and The Liberty Amendments.

“You don’t have to be in agreement with Randy Barnett to respect his scholarship, enjoy his writing, and learn from his arguments. But--trigger warning!-- after reading this book, I predict you’ll find yourself more persuaded than you expected to be of the urgent case for reclaiming our Republican Constitution.” —William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard

Randy Barnett is one of the country’s most important and creative constitutional thinkers. In Our Republican Constitution he revives and restates the natural rights tradition in American constitutional thought, explaining why our system of government is based on respect for the individual sovereignty of each and every one of us. —Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law School

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062412287
  • ISBN 10: 0062412280
  • Imprint: Broadside Books
  • On Sale: 04/19/2016
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price: 33.50 CAD
  • BISAC1: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Commentary & Opinion
  • BISAC2: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism

Our Republican Constitution by Randy E. Barnett

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