Cover: We the People, Volume 1: Foundations, from Harvard University PressCover: We the People, Volume 1: Foundations in PAPERBACK

We the People, Volume 1: Foundations

Add to Cart

Product Details


$35.50 • £28.95 • €32.00

ISBN 9780674948419

Publication Date: 03/15/1993


384 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press

We the People


[We the People] cuts through the futile and absurd search for the ‘original intent of the founders’ as the way to discover the will of the people. It recognizes that the great and extraordinary occasions required for action by the people have not been confined to a single instance in the eighteenth century. It deflates the pretensions of politicians in normal politics but magnifies the importance of political leadership in mobilizing popular support for constitutional politics when constitutional politics is needed. It gives pragmatic meaning to government of, by, and for the elusive, invisible, inaudible, but sovereign people.—Edmund S. Morgan, The New York Review of Books

This book is one of the most important contributions to American constitutional thought in the last half-century.—Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic

We the People can be recommended to anyone seeking a readable and complete introduction to the state of current Constitutional thought. Its analysis of the constraints on past and present judges and legal theorists, and the weaknesses in a panoply of jurisprudential positions is lucid and elegant.—Stephen Presser, The Chicago Tribune

The most important project now underway in the entire field of constitutional theory…to be published in this decade…indeed, perhaps in the past half-century… Ackerman posits a complex process of ‘Publian politics’ where ‘We the People’ become authorized to change the Constitution without ever invoking the procedures laid out in Article V… We the People can also lay claim to being the most significant work in ‘constructive’ American political thought since Louis Hartz’s The Liberal Tradition in America, published some 35 years ago… Ackerman is reopening the question about ‘American exceptionalism’ and arguing, with extraordinary vigor, that American political development is indeed importantly different from European and other models.—Sanford Levinson, University of Texas School of Law

[We the People is] one of the most distinguished works on the American Constitution since World War II. It combines law, political theory, political science—and even a little economics—with a rare attention to history, and it does so while developing an extremely innovative and original argument, one that has a solid claim to acceptance… There is no doubt that the book will be highly influential. I think that it will significantly alter the way that people think and talk about the American Constitution… The book is extremely well-written. Indeed, it successfully carries out the most unusual task of making difficult matters accessible to an extremely wide audience… This is a truly distinguished contribution to constitutional thought, one that will reorient the field in major ways.—Cass R. Sunstein, University of Chicago Law School

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

(logo) SpeakOUT: 50th Anniversary

Speaking with SpeakOut Boston

We continue our celebration of Pride Month by talking with some of the speakers who volunteer with SpeakOUT Boston. They share their stories with a variety of audiences to foster a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, so we thought we’d ask them some questions of our own.