Power and Liberty: Constitutionalism in the American Revolution (Hardcover)
New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gordon S. Wood elucidates the debates over the founding documents of the United States. The half century extending from the imperial crisis between Britain and its colonies in the 1760s to the early decades of the new republic of the United States was the greatest and most creative era of constitutionalism in American history, and perhaps in the world. During these decades, Americans explored and debated all aspects of politics and constitutionalism--the nature of power, liberty, representation, rights, the division of authority between different spheres of government, sovereignty, judicial authority, and written constitutions. The results of these issues produced institutions that have lasted for over two centuries. In this new book, eminent historian Gordon S. Wood distills a lifetime of work on constitutional innovations during the Revolutionary era. In concise form, he illuminates critical events in the nation's founding, ranging from the imperial debate that led to the Declaration of Independence to the revolutionary state constitution making in 1776 and the creation of the Federal Constitution in 1787. Among other topics, he discusses slavery and constitutionalism, the emergence of the judiciary as one of the major tripartite institutions of government, the demarcation between public and private, and the formation of states' rights. Here is an immensely readable synthesis of the key era in the making of the history of the United States, presenting timely insights on the Constitution and the nation's foundational legal and political documents.
Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University. He is the author of many books, including The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize of the American Historical Association; The Radicalism of the American Revolution, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize; The American Revolution: A History; The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin; Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, which was a New York Times bestseller; Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (OUP, 2009), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the American History Book Prize from the New-York Historical Society; and Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. He is a regular reviewer for the New York Review of Books.