1st Edition

Class Conflict
The Pursuit and History of American Justice

ISBN 9781412862394
Published August 30, 2015 by Routledge
264 Pages

USD $50.95

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Book Description

In a just society the law not only applies to all equally, but also arises from the consent of the people it embraces. As such, justice implies that people have access to governance. A just society provides and guards social and individual rights for all its members. The freedom of speech, therefore, is a right of all, and society has institutionalized processes to guarantee that freedom.

Due to the American people's understanding of exclusion and rank, the meaning of justice was fragmented by social status and class. While this book views American justice through a prism of social-class conflict, Gregory C. Leavitt argues that it would be incorrect to portray this perspective as somehow whole. American justice is relative to many cultural groupings and conditions and is thus at the same distance from its encompassing ideal understood by common Americans.

Beginning with the late eighteenth century and ending in the late twentieth century, Leavitt traces the history of class conflict and the struggle for justice among Americans. He argues that class struggles remain a significant factor in American social problems, because the American situation grew out of government promises of freedom and liberty to the lower class and the development of a powerful middle class. This is a provocative contribution to the debate over the future of social justice in America.

Table of Contents


1. American Justice and Social Class: An Introduction
Class Tensions and Justice Today
An American Sense of Justice
Class and Class Consciousness
Critical Social Theory and Charles Beard's "New History"
The New History (and the Old)
Macrological Studies
The "Big Picture": The Agricultural Revolution, Social Inequality, and Justice

2. Eighteenth-Century America: The Pre-Revolutionary Era
The Evolution of Republicanism: From the Merchant to the Common People
The American Gentry
The People
Violent Confrontations
The Tyranny of Taxation: The Social Class Glue

3. The Making of the Constitution
The Federalists
The Antifederalists
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
Pre-Convention Meetings
The Twelve

4. The Constitutional Convention
Property Rights, Social Inequality, and Justice
Secrecy and Government
The Economic Principles of the Constitution
The Supremacy Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause
Judicial Review
The Contract Clause
War Powers
The Structure of Representation: A Check on the People's House
District Voting: All or Nothing and the Two-Party System
Ratification of the Constitution

5. The Bill of Rights: Origins and Early Federalist Resistance
The Jury: The Cornerstone of Liberty
The Bill of Rights and Its Constitutional Status: Barron v. Baltimore (1833)
The Fourteenth Amendment and the Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

6. The Rise of the Middle Class
The Revolution and the Old Middle Class
Post-Revolutionary America: The Federalists and Class Conflict
The Democratic-Republican Party: Jeffersonian and Madisonian Democracy
The Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800 and the Turn toward Popular Democracy
The Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the New Middle Class
Justice and the American Middle Class

7. The Party-Democratic Period: 1830s to 1930s
Nineteenth-Century Class Conflict
The Growing Labor Conflict of the Post Civil War
The Progressive Era: Populism, Socialism, and Reform
The National Civic Federation, the American Association for Labor Legislation, and
the Defeat of Radical Labor
Protective Labor Legislation, Business Regulation, Social Security, and the Recognition
of Labor Unions

8. The American Justice and Due Process Revolutions
Justice and the American Middle Class: Wolfe's "Class Morality Project"
Incorporation of the Bill of Rights: The Due Process Revolution and the Projection of Social Justice
Criminal Justice System Reforms: Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Juvenile Justice

9. Class Conflict in the Early Twenty-First Century
Class and Justice: A Conclusion



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