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Eloquence and ReasonCreating a First Amendment Culture$
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Robert L. Tsai

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300117233

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300117233.001.0001

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War and Syntax

War and Syntax

Chapter:
(p.112) 5 War and Syntax
Source:
Eloquence and Reason
Author(s):

Robert L. Tsai

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300117233.003.0005

This chapter discusses war and the misconception that has circulated for some time regarding its being a purely irrational event—a social paroxysm, even the breakdown of the rule of law. Whether out of fear of ascribing normative significance to actions taken under exigent circumstances or fidelity to a text-bound theory of self-governance, scholars, have hesitated to confirm that judgments made during a time of war can or should generate foundational change. The history of the First Amendment has been inextricably bound up with Americans' perceptions of the global conflicts for which they made sacrifices. Citizens and their leaders worked out the legacy of war through use of existing democratic idioms, without the intervention of formal amendments to the Constitution. Therefore, the pertinent question is not whether armed conflict has influenced debates over governance but how individuals have molded a people's war experiences to generate constitutional meaning.

Keywords:   war, irrational event, social paroxysm, foundational change, legacy of war, governance, constitutional meaning

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