The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution

The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution
$25.95

"Eminently readable, and anybody who cares about the future of American democracy in these perilous times can only hope that it will be widely read and carefully considered."
--James Pope, Washington Post

"Fishkin and Forbath's accessible work serves as both history lesson and political playbook, offering the Left an underutilized--and perhaps counterintuitive--tool in the present-day fight against social and economic injustice: the Constitution."
--Benjamin Morse, Jacobin

"Aims to recover the Constitution's pivotal role in shaping claims of justice and equality...in engaging, imaginative prose that makes even the present court's capture by the ideological right a compelling platform for a revived social-democratic constitutional politics."
--New Republic

Oligarchy is a threat to the American republic. When too much economic and political power is concentrated in too few hands, we risk losing the "republican form of government" the Constitution requires. Today, courts enforce the Constitution as if it had almost nothing to say about this threat. But as this revolutionary retelling of constitutional history shows, a commitment to prevent oligarchy once stood at the center of a robust tradition in American political and constitutional thought.

Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath demonstrate that reformers, legislators, and even judges working in this "democracy-of-opportunity" tradition understood that the Constitution imposes a duty on legislatures to thwart oligarchy and promote a broad distribution of wealth and political power. These ideas led Jacksonians to fight special economic privileges for the few, Populists to try to break up monopoly power, and Progressives to battle for the constitutional right to form a union.

But today, as we enter a new Gilded Age, this tradition in progressive American economic and political thought lies dormant. The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution begins the work of recovering it and exploring its profound implications for our deeply unequal society and badly damaged democracy.

ISBN: 
9780674295544
Author: 
Binding: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2024