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FJI Author Series: The Partisan Republic (Zoom Program)

Thursday, September 17, 2020 | 3:30pm - 4:30pm UTC


The Partisan Republic: Democracy, Exclusion, and the Fall of the Founders’ Constitution, 1780s–1830s

A Discussion for Judges with the Author, Professor Gerald Leonard

Zoom Webinar

From the Publisher: “The Partisan Republic is the first book to unite a top down and bottom up account of constitutional change in the Founding era. The book focuses on the decline of the Founding generation’s elitist vision of the Constitution and the rise of a more ‘democratic’ vision premised on the exclusion of women and non-whites. It incorporates recent scholarship on topics ranging from judicial review to popular constitutionalism to place judicial initiatives like Marbury vs Madison in a broader, socio-legal context. The book recognizes the role of constitutional outsiders as agents in shaping the law, making figures such as the Whiskey Rebels, Judith Sargent Murray, and James Forten part of a cast of characters that has traditionally been limited to white, male elites such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall. Finally, it shows how the ‘democratic’ political party came to supplant the Supreme Court as the nation’s pre-eminent constitutional institution.”

Gerald Leonard is a leading historian of American constitutionalism. He is the author of two books that helped launch and extend the “constitutional politics,” or “popular constitutionalism,” approach to American constitutional history: The Partisan Republic: Democracy, Exclusion, and the Fall of the Founders’ Constitution, 1780s-1830s (Cambridge University Press, 2019) (with Saul Cornell), and The Invention of Party Politics: Federalism, Popular Sovereignty, and Constitutional Development in Jacksonian Illinois (University of North Carolina Press, 2002). His other writings have offered reevaluations of the Dred Scott case, Thomas Jefferson’s constitutional thought, Oliver Wendell Holmes’s philosophies of constitutional and criminal law, and the history of American approaches to substantive criminal law. He is coeditor of the pamphlet series, New Essays on American Constitutional History, for the American Historical Association. Professor Leonard also writes about contemporary criminal law, challenging conventional views about mistake of law and about federal sentencing, among other matters. A faculty member since 1997, and Law Alumni Scholar since 2007, Professor Leonard served as associate dean for academic affairs from 2006 to 2009. Before coming to BU, Professor Leonard clerked for the Honorable David Souter of the United States Supreme Court and for the Honorable J. Dickson Phillips, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Please note: Program participants will have the opportunity to discuss The Partisan Republic with the author during this Zoom webinar. If you prefer, you may submit questions in advance for Professor Leonard by emailing: programs@flaschner.org. Registration is required. Prior to the program, you will receive a message containing information about joining the session.



Thursday, September 17, 2020
3:30pm - 4:30pm UTC
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