By Richard A. Primus
Richard A. Primus examines 3 the most important classes in American historical past (the overdue eighteenth century, the Civil conflict and the Fifties and Sixties) and demonstrates how the conceptions of rights winning at each one of those instances grew out of competition to concrete political instances. within the first learn of its sort, Primus highlights the effect of totalitarianism (in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) at the language of rights. This ebook should be a tremendous contribution to modern political thought, of curiosity to students and scholars in politics and govt, constitutional legislation, and American heritage.
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Extra resources for The American Language of Rights (Ideas in Context)
Charles Pinckney of South Carolina similarly submitted for inclusion in the federal Constitution the phrase "No troops shall be kept up in time of peace, but by consent of the Legislature. "62 This restriction might seem a clause with no teeth; a modern reader might not even consider the possibility of troops prowling around without legislative consent. To explain this and similar constitutional provisions, however, we must presume that many of the Founders seriously considered that possibility. Pinckney, we may infer, thought it plausible for an army to roam through South Carolina with no legislative authorization. Viewed in that context, the Founders' preoccupation with rights against standing armies is eminently understandable. And because the experience that made such a scenario plausible for Pinckney stemmed from executive rather than legislative abuses, it was against the executive that he sought to secure a right. Domestic Quartering Domestic quartering, the other major military policy to call forth an American constitutional right, began in a relevant sense in 1765, when the first Quartering Act prescribed the quartering of British troops in barracks and vacant buildings, though not in private homes. Only in 1774 did the passage of the second Quartering Act extend mandatory quartering of troops to private homes. hence, sixty one Annals, vol. I, pp. 749–750. sixty two Max Farrand, ed. , The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (Yale University Press, revised edn. , 1966), vol. II, p. 341. Page 106 colonial complaints before 1774 about quartering in homes being "illegal" are admissible on positivist terms. The complaints, however, did not cease when Parliament changed the law and made domestic quartering legal. As with standing armies, writers throughout the colonies attacked the practice of quartering as despotic, dangerous, and violative of American rights. sixty three The right against quartering is a good illustration of the oppositional origins of rights because we can differentiate among areas where more and less quartering occurred during the war and then ask whether it is from the more affected areas that the right came. In fact, what became the Third Amendment is the only one of the first eight amendments that did not have a forerunner in the Virginia Bill of Rights. As an oppositional theory of rights discourse would predict, quartering was less common in Virginia than elsewhere. The state hardest hit by the Quartering Act was New York. The British army occupied New York City for most of the war, and at one point the state had its legislature suspended for refusing to comply with the Quartering Act. In 1788, New York proposed an amendment to the federal Constitution banning quartering as practiced by the British during the war. Furthermore, the first New York Constitution contained a long paragraph demanding that there must be a militia, in all circumstances of war and peace, consisting of every man in the state, "armed and disciplined, and in readiness for service," immediate and perpetual.