A Review of
REFLECTIONS ON SLAVERY AND THE CONSTITUTION
(Lexington Books, 2012)
Anastaplo (law, Loyola Univ. of Chicago), one of America’s leading scholars on law and the Constitution, offers a profound study of the history of slavery and American constitutional law. In this fourth volume of his ambitious ten-part series of “constitutional sonnets,” Anastaplo argues that a thorough analysis of the history and development of constitutiona1 law and slavery can help readers better understand the state of race relations in the US today. He also maintains that a commitment to understanding fully the language and history of the Constitution can help US society overcome seemingly intractable political and social conflict. In the present volume, Anastaplo largely succeeds in achieving these goals. Although the history of slavery in American is a well-trodden subject, Anastaplo builds A compelling narrative by tight1y binding the slavery issue to American constitutionalism, while drawing on a diverse range of supporting materials, including literature, sociology, philosophy, history, po1itica1 science and law. In the end, Anastaplo makes a compelling case that the Northern victory in the Civil War was not just a vindication of the strength of the Union, but also a vindication of the enduring strength of constitutional principles.
Summing Up: Highly recommended.