Liberty and Union: A Constitutional History of the United States, volume 1, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Liberty and Union

A Constitutional History of the United States, volume 1, 1st Edition

By Edgar J. McManus, Tara Helfman


470 pages

Look Inside Companion Website
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415892834
pub: 2013-12-17
SAVE ~$15.19
Hardback: 9780415892827
pub: 2013-12-17
SAVE ~$36.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203435878
pub: 2013-12-04
from $37.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


This, the first of two volumes of Liberty and Union, is a comprehensive constitutional history of the United States from the Anglo-American origins of the Constitution through the colonial and antebellum periods, to the Civil War and the consequent restructuring of the nation.

Written in a clear and engaging narrative style, it successfully unites thorough chronological coverage with a thematic approach, offering critical analysis of core constitutional history topics, set in the political, social, and economic context that made them constitutional issues in the first place. Combining a thoughtful and balanced narrative with an authoritative stance on key issues, the authors explain the past in the light of the past, without imposing upon it the standards of later generations.

Authored by two experienced professors of History and Law this textbook has been thoughtfully constructed to offer an accessible alternative to dense scholarly works – avoiding unnecessary technical jargon, defining legal terms and historical personalities where appropriate, and making explicit connections between constitutional themes and historical events. For students in an undergraduate or postgraduate constitutional history course, or anyone with a general interest in constitutional developments, this book will be essential reading.

Useful features include:

  • Full glossary of legal terminology
  • Recommended reading
  • A table of cases
  • Extensive supporting artwork
  • Companion website

Useful documents provided:

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Articles of Confederation
  • Constitution of the United States of America
  • Chronological list of Supreme Court justices


"Liberty and Union is a superb primer on the English origins of American jurisprudence that highlights the most significant aspects of the constitutional history of the United States. Crisply written with a dash of wit and humor, the authors excel at explaining essential legal concepts and differing historical interpretations with clarity and precision. In this splendid overview and comprehensive analysis, they persuasively make the case for the Constitution’s centrality to American culture, politics, and nationhood."

—Edward P. Crapol, Pullen Professor of American History, Emeritus, College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA

"Rembrandt’s Aristotle, 1653, contemplated the bust of Homer for wisdom about what to make of the new state system introduced at Westphalia five years earlier. Modern states have recognized the need to make constitutions, but most turned out to be fabricated cover stories. Now with Liberty and Union we can begin to see how the U.S. Constitution made America an exception to that rule. This book fills a huge gap in intellectual history about what a constitution is supposed to be and do--but in other countries almost never is or does."

—Professor Charles Hill, Diplomat-in-Residence and lecturer in International Studies at Yale University

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The English Connection 2. A Legacy Transported and Transformed 3. Independence and Nationhood 4. A More Perfect Union 5. Launching the New Government 6. Jeffersonian Republicanism 7. John Marshall and Judicial Nationalism 8. Majority Rule and Sectional Rights 9. More Power to the States 10. Slavery and the Constitution 11. The Crisis of the Union 12. Reconstructing the Nation

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / General