Understanding State Constitutions

ISBN-10: 0691070660
ISBN-13: 9780691070667
Edition: 1998
Authors: G. Alan Tarr
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Description: For many Americans, the word "constitution" means just one thing: the national Constitution. According to a recent survey, almost half do not know that individual states also have constitutions. Scholars have also paid little attention to state  More...

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Book details

List price: $39.95
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 9/25/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 264
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

For many Americans, the word "constitution" means just one thing: the national Constitution. According to a recent survey, almost half do not know that individual states also have constitutions. Scholars have also paid little attention to state constitutions, favoring the apparently more dynamic and significant federal scene. G. Alan Tarr seeks to change that in this landmark book. A leading authority on state legal issues, he combines history, law, and political science to present a thorough and long-needed account of the distinct and important role of state constitutions in American life. Tarr shows that state constitutional politics are dominated by three crucial issues with little salience at the national level: the distribution of power among groups and regions within states, the scope of state and local governmental authority, and the relation of the state to economic activity. He explains how state constitutions differ from the national Constitution in treating not only matters of high principle but also such mundane subjects as ski trails and motor vehicle revenues. He also explores why state constitutions, unlike their federal counterpart, have been so frequently amended and replaced. Tarr concludes that the United States not only has a system of dual constitutionalism but also has dual constitutional cultures. Powerfully argued and meticulously researched, the book fills an important gap in political and legal studies and finally gives state constitutions the scholarly attention they richly deserve.

Introduction
The Distinctiveness of State Constitutionalism
Explaining State Constitutional Development
Eighteenth-Century State Constitutionalism
Nineteenth-Century State Constitutionalism
Twentieth-Century State Constitutionalism
State Constitutional Interpretation
Bibliography
Index

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