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Evangelical Reform and the Origins of the Modern Constitutional Order

January 8, 2018 @ 12:00 am

Evangelical Reform and the Origins of the Modern Constitutional Order

DateJanuary 6, 2014

Time4:00am to 5:30am

Location
4357 Bunche Hall

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In twenty-first century America, religion seems to go hand in hand with veneration of the Constitution and its framers. But during the nineteenth century, deeply religious Americans were almost as likely to condemn the Constitution as to praise it. Why did early religious activists often express disdain for a constitutional inheritance that their twenty-first-century successors regard with awed reverence? The answer, in short, is that Americans living in the aftermath of the great religious revivals of the early nineteenth century came to regard as sinful many activities and forms of property – from liquor, to lottery tickets, to slavery – that the founding generation had tolerated, or even actively promoted. In order to rid the nation of sinful forms of property, evangelicals found it necessary to challenge some of the framers’ most basic constitutional principles, from their expansive conception of property rights to their commitment to decentralized regulatory authority. Evangelical reform efforts thus helped facilitate the birth of a new constitutional order in which conceptions of property rights and state-federal relations are increasingly viewed as fluid, socially constructed, and subject to modification by democratic majorities. In short, the “living Constitution” which modern-day social conservatives routinely disparage was in no small part the creation of an earlier generation of religious activists.

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Details

Date:
January 8, 2018
Time:
12:00 am
Website:
/event/evangelical-reform-and-origins-modern-constitutional-order

Details

Date:
January 8, 2018
Time:
12:00 am
Website:
/event/evangelical-reform-and-origins-modern-constitutional-order