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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

The Original Theory Of Constitutionalism, David Singh Grewal, Jedediah Purdy Jan 2018

The Original Theory Of Constitutionalism, David Singh Grewal, Jedediah Purdy

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Constitution embodies a conception of democratic sovereignty that has been substantially forgotten and obscured in today’s commentary. Recovering this original idea of constitution-making shows that today’s originalism is, ironically, unfaithful to its origins in an idea of self-rule that prized both the initial ratification of fundamental law and the political community’s ongoing power to reaffirm or change it. This does not mean, however, that living constitutionalism better fits the original conception of democratic self-rule. Rather, because the Constitution itself makes amendment practically impossible, it all but shuts down the very form of democratic sovereignty ...