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Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War$
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Paul D. Moreno and Jonathan O'Neill

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251940

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251940.001.0001

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The Idea of Constitutional Conservatism in the Early Twentieth Century

The Idea of Constitutional Conservatism in the Early Twentieth Century

Chapter:
(p.202) 8 The Idea of Constitutional Conservatism in the Early Twentieth Century
Source:
Constitutionalism in the Approach and Aftermath of the Civil War
Author(s):

Johnathan O'Neill

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823251940.003.0010

For decades scholars have argued that social Darwinism and laissez- faire ideology transfixed early twentieth-century American constitutionalism. This view has been considerably undermined by a wave of revisionism which argues that conservatives of the so-called Lochner-era respected the law and the Constitution. This chapter builds on this revisionism by examining non-jurisprudential constitutional commentary among a small but notable group of intellectuals, officials, and scholars who responded to progressivism and socialism based on their self- understanding as constitutional conservatives. Frequently they measured the constitutional challenges of their time against those of the Civil War and Reconstruction era. At the center of this development was the National Association for Constitutional Government (NACG) and its journal, Constitutional Review, which ran from 1917 to 1929. The publication's circulation was never large, but NACG, the Review, and a few other like-minded public figures sustained a conservative constitutional position throughout the1920s.

Keywords:   Constitutional conservatism, Henry Campbell Black, Lochner revisionism, Constitutional Review, National Association for Constitutional Government, Progressivism

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