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Overcoming NecessityEmergency, Constraint, and the Meanings of American Constitutionalism$
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Thomas P. Crocker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300181616

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300181616.001.0001

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Identity, Freedom, and Constitutional Constraint

Identity, Freedom, and Constitutional Constraint

(p.235) 7 Identity, Freedom, and Constitutional Constraint
Overcoming Necessity

Thomas P. Crocker

Yale University Press

This chapter reviews the commitment to constitutional values as a constitutive feature of political identity in American constitutionalism. It argues that a person has the ability to choose its own character as well as the actions that constitute that character. It looks into Hannah Arendt's suggestion that even if the “affairs of men” are “ever-changing,” some can change substantially without affecting the meaning of the whole while others are more central to the entire enterprise. The chapter talks about the end of the Reconstruction Amendments that altered the very fabric of American constitutionalism and the identity of the American people due to the reinstatement of a constitutional basis for slavery. It also highlights the long history of constitutional understandings that has woven a fabric of rights protections in both domestic and international law that stand against the use of cruelty as a means of criminal procedure.

Keywords:   constitutional values, political identity, American constitutionalism, Hannah Arendt, Reconstruction Amendments, constitutional understandings, criminal procedure

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