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A Machine Made Of Words: Our Incompletely Theorized Constitution, Gregory Brazeal 2011 SelectedWorks

A Machine Made Of Words: Our Incompletely Theorized Constitution, Gregory Brazeal

Gregory Brazeal

The conventional wisdom says that the U.S. Constitution represents "a comfortable and even emphatic agreement on... general principle, accompanied by sharp disagreement about particular cases." This essay draws attention to an often overlooked feature of the Constitution that lies in tension with the conventional view. For a document that is assumed to represent an agreement on general principles, the U.S. Constitution contains remarkably few statements of principle. In fact, an empirical analysis suggests that the U.S. Constitution has a good claim to containing the least abstract theorizing of any constitutional document of its era. The Constitution is ...


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