The Lives of the Constitution

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Teleforum

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The Lives of the Constitution: Ten Exceptional Minds that Shaped America’s Supreme Law is a blend of biography and history, Joseph Tartakovsky tells the story of our Constitution through the eyes of ten extraordinary individuals―some renowned, like Alexander Hamilton and Woodrow Wilson, and some forgotten, like James Wilson and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Mr. Tartakovsky brings to life their struggles over our supreme law from its origins in revolutionary America to the era of Obama and Trump. Sweeping from settings as diverse as Gold Rush California to the halls of Congress, and crowded with a vivid Dickensian cast, The book shows how America’s unique constitutional culture grapples with questions like democracy, racial and sexual equality, free speech, economic liberty, and the role of government.

From the 1787 Philadelphia Convention to the clash over gay marriage, this is an interesting grand tour through two centuries of constitutional history as never told before.

Join our Teleforum call with author Joseph Tartakovsky and Ilya Shapirio discussing the book.


Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Mr. Joseph Tartakovsky, James Wilson Fellow in Constitutional Law, Claremont Institute


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