January 21, 2015

Law, Emotion, and the Antebellum Constitution

Doni N. Gewirtzman, New York Law School, has published 'Vital Tissues of the Spirit': Constitutional Emotions in the Antebellum United States, in The Ashgate Research Companion to Law and the Humanities in Nineteenth-Century America (Nan Goodman & Simon Stern, Ashgate, 2015). Here is the abstract.

This Chapter provides a framework for examining the ambivalent and reciprocal relationship between emotions and constitutional law through three interrelated lenses: text, instrument, and symbol. In the years before the Civil War, discourse about feelings impacted institutional struggles for interpretive supremacy over the constitutional text, affected the Constitution’s ability to function as a legal mechanism for emotion management, and shaped its status as a national symbol.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link. 

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