New Book: Toward an American Conservatism: Constitutional Conservatism during the Progressive Era

I contributed one chapter to this collection of essays. Not surprisingly, I wrote about Lochner and liberty of contract jurisprudence, and its uneasy relationship to constitutional conservatism.

It’s an excellent book on an understudied topic. The one major impression I get from studying this general topic is that while the Progressives knew to a large extent where they wanted to take the country and the Constitution, conservatives of the day didn’t have their own positive ideology, but were simply trying to preserve what they saw as traditional American values of federalism and individual liberty against the Progressive wave. Not surprisingly, they failed, just as the Burger Court and (especially) the (early) Rehnquist Court, products of a defensive conservatism with little positive agenda, failed to roll back the liberal tide.

Unfortunately, the book costs $82.00, so few readers are going to add it to their personal collections, at least until a paperback (hopefully) arrives. But if the subject matter interests you, you should check it out at your local academic library, and ask the librarian to order it if they don’t already have it.

UPDATE: Here is a Table of Contents:

Introduction: Johnathan O’Neill and Joseph Postell
1. Constitutional Conservatism During the Progressive Era: The National Association for Constitutional Government and Constitutional Review; Johnathan O’Neill
2. The Progressive Origins of Conservative Hostility to Lochner v. New York; David E. Bernstein
3. William Howard Taft and the Struggle for the Soul of the Constitution; Sidney M. Milkis
4. The Election of 1912 and the Origins of Constitutional Conservatism; William Schambra
5. William Howard Taft on America and the Philippines: Equality, Natural Rights, and Imperialism; John Grant
6. Civilization versus Modernity: The League of Nations in the Crisis of World Civilization; W. Taylor Reveley
7. ‘Roaring’ against Progressivism: Calvin Coolidge’s Principled Conservatism; Joseph Postell
8. Rational Compromise: Charles Evans Hughes as a Progressive Originalist; James R. Stoner, Jr.
9. The Two Phases of Herbert Hoover’s Constitutional Conservatism; Gordon Lloyd and David Davenport
Epilogue: Charles Kesler

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