Book An argument open to all : reading The Federalist in the twenty-first century / Sanford Levinson.
Publication year: 
Call Number KF4515 .L48 2015
Media class: Book
Publisher: New Haven ;London : Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300199598 0300199597
Extent: xiii, 350 pages ; 25 cm
"In An Argument Open to All, renowned legal scholar Sanford Levinson takes a novel approach to what is perhaps America's most famous political tract. Rather than concern himself with the authors as historical figures, or how The Federalist helps us understand the original intent of the framers of the Constitution, Levinson examines each essay for the political wisdom it can offer us today. In eighty-five short essays, each keyed to a different essay in The Federalist, he considers such questions as whether present generations can rethink their constitutional arrangements; how much effort we should exert to preserve America's traditional culture; and whether The Federalist's arguments even suggest the desirability of world government"--Publisher description.
Publius, our contemporary : an introduction -- Part 1. Something must be done to save the Union. On the frequency of "reflection and choice" by "we the people" -- How much pluribus within a single unum? -- Federalism and foreign policy -- "Concerning dangers from foreign force" -- In union there is strength -- Humankind as "ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious" -- Endless sources of conflict (and war), even within the United States -- On the rise of a militarized state -- Part 2. Bigger is, in fact, better. The new (and improved) science of politics -- Can moral or religious education overcome natural tendencies toward faction? -- It's a harsh and competitive world out there -- Commerce and state finance -- Economies of scale -- Publius and permanent revolution (or, at least, improvement) -- Part 3. Why "confederation" is both "odious" and an "imbecility." "The imbecility of our government" -- Why confederation is "odious" and a national government is necessary -- The political sociology of federalism (part I) -- Ancient history as caution -- The defects of multiple sovereigns -- The Dutch provide the final cautionary example -- On the importance of sanctions -- Publius as majoritarian -- Part 4. The state and the machinery of death (or, at least, defense) : standing armies. "Common defence" and (un)limited government -- The inconvenience of militia service -- More on the merits of standing armies -- In whom do we place our "confidence"? -- Further reflections on confidence in the national government -- The necessity of force -- "Concerning the militia" -- Part 5. How does one pay for the services supplied by the Union? On taxes and the taxing power. First death, now taxes -- On the inutility of specified limits -- Taxation and constitutional interpretation -- The irrelevance of text -- Drafting a constitution with the long view in mind -- Who will allocate the tax burdens, and why should we trust them? -- State and national officials as partners or adversaries --
Part 6. To err is human (and perfect clarity is chimerical). Human (and even divine) fallibility and written constitutions -- The best as the enemy of the good -- and the necessary -- Federalism, "compact," and the specter of secession --
Part 7. On the limits of the "rule of law." Exigency and fidelity to law -- Existential dangers and legal fidelity -- Part 8. National and state prerogatives (and maintenance of a federal political order). Who should control naturalization (and immigration)? -- Controlling internal insurrections -- Confidence, money, and debt -- Evaluating the constitutional order -- The political sociology of federalism (part II) -- Is "separation of powers" a helpful maxim? -- "Parchment barriers" -- Part 9. Veneration versus reflection. "Veneration" versus "reflection and choice" -- Maintaining constitutional fidelity -- Part 10. Institutional design : the legislature. Designing institutions for devils (who organize themselves into political parties) -- Suffrage and representation -- For how long should representatives serve? -- Who counts as worthy of representation, and for how much? -- Does size matter, and if not, what does? -- "Local knowledge" and representation -- Does "representation" mean "mirroring"? -- Does the "iron law of oligarchy" apply to the House of Representatives? -- Part 11. Who should be in charge of elections? The death of state autonomy? -- Manipulating elections -- What is a propitious time to choose representatives? -- Part 12. On the senate. On the "lesser evil" -- Let sleeping sovereigns lie? -- The Senate's superior wisdom on foreign affairs -- The Senate's confirmation and impeachment powers -- The past is a different country -- Part 13. On the executive. A monarchical president? -- Selecting the president -- Comparing the president with the/a king -- Unity in the executive -- How long should a president be able to serve? -- You can't get too much of a good president -- Why the presidential veto? -- The presidential prerogative to pardon -- The complicated process of making or refusing to make treaties -- The appointment power -- The constitutional bona fides of a unilateral authority to remove executive branch officials -- Part 14. The roles of
the national judiciary. Is the judiciary "above politics"? -- Fixed salaries -- but what about inflation? -- The importance of federal courts -- Discipling judges by threatening impeachment? -- A judiciary for the whole -- Trial by jury -- Part 15. Reprise : the importance of institutions and the necessity of a strong national government. The limited importance -- if not outright dangers -- of bills of rights -- "A nation [with] a national government."