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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with an overview of the fundamental questions raised from the end of Reconstruction to World War I about the relationship of the Constitution to a rapidly and radically transforming country. It introduces the era’s new theories about and the institutions and practice of government, particularly as advanced by Progressives committed to forging a “new democracy,” as well as conservative resistance to that thinking. It charts the transformation of constitutional structures and relationships in the period, including the powers of the judiciary, the presidency, administrative agencies, and Congress, and describes the period’s innovating theories of judicial review, the separation of powers, and federalism. Finally, the chapter describes problems of equality (inclusion/exclusion) and liberty (individual “personal” freedom), and maps the altered conditions and conceptual shifts (as pioneered by the era’s intellectual, political, and legal entrepreneurs) that gave rise to modern liberal understandings of civil rights and civil liberties.

Keywords: constitutionalism, Gilded Age, Progressive Era, Constitution, democracy, judicial review, federalism, civil rights, civil liberties, Supreme Court

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