This book is so dense and so good I had to read it twice. Yes! This time it gets a 10, but it takes work. The author is a legal scholar at Vanderbilt University so, as one might expect, the book is very well thought out, researched, organized and written basically explains why the Constitution is a “middle class” constitution (rather than a class-warfare constitution”. and how the it changed over the centuries to where it now seems to protect the elites.
The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic
by Ganesh Sitaraman
2017 / 433 pages
read by MacLeod Andrews – 12h 24m
Rating: 9 / history-economics
(both read and listened)
The Introduction is difficult but interesting and the next two chapters remain challenging. The narrative let up for me in Chapter 3 where I had more background and it continued in a relatively more accessible way.
The material is organized into three Parts each divided into a few chapters. This follows a fairly thorough Introduction. Part 1, “The Radicalism of The American Constitution,” goes back to the Greeks/Romans and what a Middle-Class Constitution might be as well as how others since, like Machi-avelli, have viewed overall governmental structures, and how all of this applies to the Western world, specifically the United States, today.
Part II, “A Brief History of the Middle-Class Constitution,” deals with the Western world prior to the ratification of the US constitution. This means mostly the founding fathers and their era showing that what happened in America really was a Revolution and not just a War of Independence.
And then Part III, “The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution,” gets involved with more recent US history and how the struggle between the elites and the middle/lower classes. This includes the fight over slavery, and the feudalism of the south, but not much say about women. Sitaraman also covers the Progressive Era, the WWII boom, the Civil Rights era, the flattening of the middle class since 1970 and what’s been going on since, like the Citizen’s United court case The final chapter deals with suggestions for reviving a Middle-Class and a Constitution which supports stability.
Overall, it’s a fascinating account of what started out to be a brave new way of governance has turned into another form of government by elites., How and why did that happen and can we somehow alter the course of our Republic?