In 1937 the Supreme Court revolutionized American constitutionalism, sharply restricting the states' powers and expanding those of the national government. In following years the civil rights movement caused further change, challenging American life with its demands for equal rights under the Constitution and protection by the federal government. The Vietnam War expanded and then contracted presidential power. In 2001, attacks organized by followers of Osama bin Laden on American cities revived presidential power, leading to new challenges to America's constitutional heritage. This volume assembles the most important documents from American constitutional history from the depths of the Great Depression to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. Through these important documents, American constitutional power can be seen surging and waning, but always responding to the drama of world events.
The Authors: Christopher Waldrep is Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History at San Francisco State University and author, most recently, of The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America (2002). Lynne Curry is Professor of History at Eastern Illinois University and author of Modern Mothers in the Heartland: Gender, Health, and Progress in Illinois, 1900-1930 (1999).