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With Liberty and Justice for All?

The Constitution in the Classroom

Edited by Steven A. Steinbach, Maeva Marcus, and Robert Cohen
Foreword by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Publication Date - 10 June 2022

ISBN: 9780197516300

464 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

A valuable resource for students, teachers, and citizens looking to better understand US Constitutional history


A valuable resource for students, teachers, and citizens looking to better understand US Constitutional history

With Liberty and Justice for All?: The Constitution in the Classroom is designed to help teachers and students generate analysis and debate in our nation's classrooms about an aspect of US history that has produced intense disagreements about rights and wrongs: constitutional history. For more than two centuries, Americans have argued about what the US Constitution permits or requires (or not), and what values and ideals it enshrines (or not)--indeed, who is to be included (or not) in the very definition of "We the People."

This book provides abundant resources to explore key moments of debate about the Constitution and its meaning, focusing on fundamental questions of citizenship and rights. It analyzes American history through the use and misuse of the Constitution over time, from early disputes about liberty and slavery to more recent quarrels over equality and dignity. With a foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this book's succinct and probing essays by prize-winning historians--including Linda Greenhouse, Mary Sarah Bilder, Annette Gordon-Reed, Eric Foner, Sam Erman, Julie Suk, Laura Kalman, and Melissa Murray--provide the core of the book. Their topics encompass woman suffrage, school desegregation, Japanese internment, McCarthyism, all dramatic turning points in American history. Carefully selected and annotated primary sources and focused discussion questions provide teachers with the tools to bring constitutional history into the classroom with ease.

As this book amply demonstrates, United States history is constitutional history. A companion website provides additional resources for teachers.


  • With a foreword by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Contributors include some of the foremost constitutional scholars of our time
  • A unique approach to the study of both the Constitution and US history that will be of benefit not only to classroom teachers and their students, but also to interested citizens more generally
  • Integrates the teaching of United States History and American Government and Civics--specifically about citizenship and rights
  • Includes generous collections of primary source documents highlighting constitutional controversies

About the Author(s)

Steven A. Steinbach teaches United States History and American Government courses and has served as history department chair at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC. Previously he was a partner in the Washington, DC, law firm of Williams & Connolly LLP, where he specialized in criminal and civil litigation.

Maeva Marcus, a past president of the American Society for Legal History, is Research Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Constitutional Studies at the George Washington University Law School. She serves as the general editor of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States. Author of Truman and the Steel Seizure Case: The Limits of Presidential Power, she also edited the eight-volume series The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800.

Robert Cohen, professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning at New York University, has written or edited more than a dozen books about United States history, including Rethinking America's Past: Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States in the Classroom and Beyond. He is co-founder of the NYU-Steinhardt-NYU School of Law Constitution in the Schools Partnership program.


"Steinbach '81, Marcus, and Cohen urge students and teachers to wrestle with the constitutional questions that animate U.S. history. The volume's eight chapters examine the Constitution's "use and misuse" at watershed moments, interweaving analysis by historians with primary sources. Rather than adopting any one view, With Liberty and Justice for All? shows the Constitution to be contested." -- Yale Law Review

Table of Contents

    Foreword by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    About the Companion Website

    Chapter 1: The Foundations of Constitutional History
    Essay: Shaping the Constitution
    Linda Greenhouse
    Five Questions about the Constitution
    Judicial Review
    Interpreting the Constitution

    Chapter 2: The Founding (1776 - 1791)
    Essay: The Age of the Constitution
    Mary Sarah Bilder
    Constitutional Provisions Regarding Slavery
    A Bill of Rights?

    Chapter 3: The New Constitution in the New Nation (1789 - 1848)
    Essay: Creating "We the People"
    Annette Gordon-Reed
    Slavery, Race, and the States
    Native American Policy

    Chapter 4: The Constitution in Crisis (1848 - 1877)
    Essay: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Constitutional Revolution
    Eric Foner
    Fugitive Slave Act
    Dred Scott
    Interpretation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments

    Chapter 5: The Constitution at Home and Abroad (1877 - 1917)
    Essay: From the Reconstruction Constitution to Empire
    Sam Erman
    The Chinese Exclusion Act (and the Anarchist Exclusion Act)

    Chapter 6: The Constitution during War and Peace (1917 - 1945)
    Essay: Democracy at Home: Prohibition, War, and Women's Suffrage
    Julie Suk
    The Nineteenth Amendment and the Equal Rights Amendment
    Confinement of Japanese Americans during World War II

    Chapter 7: The Constitution in the Postwar World (1945 - 1974)
    Essay: The Warren Court and Constitutional Liberalism
    Laura Kalman
    Civil Rights - School Desegregation
    Civil Rights - Public Accommodations

    Chapter 8: Constitutionalism in Contemporary America
    Essay: The Rights Revolution and the Modern Supreme Court
    Melissa Murray
    Privacy and Abortion
    Women's Rights
    Same-Sex Relationships

    Appendix 1: Debating the Constitution
    Appendix 2: Other Ideas for Teaching Constitutional History

    Further Reading

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