Cover image for Sovereignty and liberty : constitutional discourse in American culture
Sovereignty and liberty : constitutional discourse in American culture
Kammen, Michael G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Madison, Wis. : University of Wisconsin Press, [1988]

Physical Description:
xiv, 231 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
KF4541 .K35 1988 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Learned and witty essays by Kammen (American history and culture, Cornell University) giving us a fresh view on several matters central to the creation of the US and assessments of their historical meaning. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Author Notes

Michael Gedaliah Kammen was born in Rochester, New York on October 25, 1936. He received a bachelor's degree in history from George Washington University and master's and doctoral degrees in history from Harvard University. He was a professor of American history and culture at Cornell University since 1965. He wrote numerous books including A Season of Youth, A Machine That Would Go of Itself, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture, Visual Shock, and Digging Up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for history for People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization. He died on November 29, 2013 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This book is the third of Pulitzer prize-winner Kammen's contributions to the bicentennial of the Constitution, following The Constitution in American Culture (1986) and A Machine That Would Go of Itself (CH, Feb '87). It is a series of seven essays concerning "the cultural nature of change in discourse" about constitutionalism in America. By this, Kammen means the relationship of thought to social process, so that the history of thinking about the Constitution is linked to actual changes in political and social behavior. The essays cover the period 1764 to the present, and represent a remarkable snapshot of American constitutional history. Admirers of Kammen's earlier work will not be surprised at his command of 18th-century history; readers will also admire his approach to the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps the only false note is the final chapter, an already dated attack on former Attorney General Edwin Meese's claims for strict historical interpretation of the Framers' original intent. The essays are unfailingly original and wonderfully written--full of unexpected illustrative detail. The notes are full, and they refer to a remarkably broad and imaginative range of sources. College, university, and public libraries. -S. N. Katz, Princeton University