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All nation states, whether ancient or newly created, must examine their constitutional fundamentals to keep their constitutions relevant and dynamic. Constitutional change has greater legitimacy when the questions are debated before the people and accepted by them. Who are the peoples in this state? What role should they have in relation to the government? What rights should they have? Who should be Head of State? What is our constitutional relationship with other nation states? What is the influence of international law on our domestic system? What process should constitutional change follow? In this volume, scholars, practitioners, politicians, public officials, and young people explore these questions and others in relation to the New Zealand constitution and provide some thought-provoking answers. This book is recommended for anyone seeking insight into how a former British colony with bicultural foundations is making the transition to a multicultural society in an increasingly complex and globalised world.
Thomas Jefferson proposed that we revise the Constitution every so often, not just to reflect the changing times but to revive and perpetuate our original revolutionary spirit. Could it be that the Constitution itself is part of the reason that our democracy is on life support, our government gone haywire? To find out, Christopher Phillips, originator of the Socrates Cafâe dialogues, sets off on a cross-country junket to engage Americans of all stripes in an offbeat constitutional convention. Given the opportunity to rewrite the Constitution, a diverse bunch--from Burning Man die-hards to army veterans, Tea Party acolytes to Orange County slackers--weighs in with some really wild and worthwhile ideas about how our nation should be governed. With Jefferson as his iconoclastic and visionary guide, Phillips moderates these discussions and complements his participants' ideas by relating them to Jefferson's own experiences with governance and to his great expectations for our democracy.--From publisher description.
Challenging the standard periodization of American literary history, Reconstituting the American Renaissance reinterprets the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman and the relationship of these two authors to each other. Jay Grossman argues that issues of political representation—involving vexed questions of who shall speak and for whom—lie at the heart of American political and literary discourse from the revolutionary era through the Civil War. By taking the mid-nineteenth-century period, traditionally understood as marking the advent of literary writing in the United States, and restoring to it the ways in which Emerson and Whitman engaged with eighteenth-century controversies, rhetorics, and languages about political representation, Grossman departs significantly from arguments that have traditionally separated American writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Reconstituting the American Renaissance describes how Emerson and Whitman came into the period of their greatest productivity with different conceptions of the functions and political efficacy of the word in the world. It challenges Emerson’s position as Whitman’s necessary precursor and offers a cultural history that emphasizes the two writers’ differences in social class, cultural experience, and political perspective. In their writings between 1830 and 1855, the book finds contrasting conceptions of the relations between the “representative man” and the constituencies to whom, and for whom, he speaks. Reconstituting the American Renaissance opens up the canonical relationship between Emerson and Whitman and multiplies the historical and discursive contexts for understanding their published and unpublished works.
In this volume distinguished historians and political scientists examine the linguistic and conceptual dimension of the American Founding. They analyze political discourse during the short span of years from the Revolution through ratification.
There is a unique constitutional relationship between Aboriginal people and the Canadian state - a relationship that does not exist between other Canadians and the state. It's from this central premise that Patrick Macklem builds his argument in this outstanding and significant work. Why does this special relationship exist? What does it entail in terms of Canadian constitutional order? There are, Macklem argues, four complex social facts that lie at the heart of the relationship. First, Aboriginal people belong to distinctive cultures that were and continue to be threatened by non-Aboriginal beliefs, philosophies, and ways of life. Second, prior to European contact, Aboriginal people lived in and occupied North America. Third, prior to European contact, Aboriginal people not only occupied North America; they exercised sovereign authority over persons and territory. Fourth, Aboriginal people participated in and continue to participate in a treaty process with the Crown. Together, these four social conditions are exclusive to the Aboriginal people of North America and constitute what Macklem refers to as indigenous difference. Exploring the constitutional significance of indigenous difference in light of the challenges it poses to the ideal of equal citizenship, Macklem engages an interdisciplinary methodology that treats constitutional law as an enterprise that actively distributes power, primarily in the form of rights and jurisdiction, among a variety of legal actors, including individuals, groups, institutions, and governments. On this account, constitutional law refers to an ongoing project of aspiring to distributive justice, disciplined but not determined by text, structure, or precedent. Far from threatening equality, constitutional protection of indigenous difference promotes equal and therefore just distributions of constitutional power. The book details constitutional rights to Aboriginal people that protect interests associated with culture, territory, sovereignty, and the treaty process, and explores the circumstances in which these rights can be interfered with by the Canadian state. It also examines the relation between these rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Feedoms, and proposes extensive reform of existing treaty processes in order to protect and promote their exercise. Macklem's book offers a challenge to traditional understandings of the constitutional status of indigenous peoples, relevant not only to Canadian debates but also to those in other parts of the world where indigenous peoples are asserting greater autonomy over their collective futures.