The Constitution Besieged

The Rise & Demise of Lochner Era Police Powers Jurisprudence

The Constitution Besieged

Book Pages: 328 Illustrations: Published: February 1995

Author: Howard Gillman

History > U.S. History, Law > Legal History, Politics > Political Science

The Constitution Besieged offers a compelling reinterpretation of one of the most notorious periods in American constitutional history. In the decades following the Civil War, federal and state judges struck down as unconstitutional a great deal of innovative social and economic legislation. Scholars have traditionally viewed this as the work of a conservative judiciary more interested in promoting laissez-faire economics than in interpreting the Constitution. Gillman challenges this scholarly orthodoxy by showing how these judges were in fact observing a long-standing constitutional prohibition against "class legislation." Originally published in cloth by Duke University Press, this book received the 1994 C. Herman Pritchett Award for the "Best Book in the Field of Law and Courts," awarded by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.


“A broad, clearly written, and lucidly argued reinterpretation of American constitutional history. . . . [It] deserves the attention of all students in the field.” — Edward A. Purcell , Journal of American History

"A fascinating and intelligent analysis of Supreme Court jurisprudence from the Civil War until the second New Deal cases of 1937. . . . This book is must reading for all interested in constitutional law and its relationship to politics and the economy." — David Schultz , Law and Politics Book Review

Richly detailed and engagingly written. . . . Gillman contributes to an emerging post-Realist reconsideration of Supreme Court jurisprudence.” — James C. Foster, Legal Studies Forum

"An important work." — Mark Tushnet, Georgetown University

"This book is of immense importance in the field of American constitutional history." — Michael Les Benedict, Ohio State University


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Howard Gillman is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California.

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Winner, 1994 C. Herman Pritchett Award (presented by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association)

Winner, 1994 Choice Outstanding Academic Books

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1642-8
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