Book Forum

How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution

(Cato Institute, 2006)

February 15, 2006 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST


Featuring the author, Richard A. Epstein, University of Chicago Law School; and comments by Michael Seidman, Georgetown University Law Center.

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The Constitution was written and ratified to secure liberty through limited government. Central to its design were two principles: federalism and economic liberty. But at the beginning of the 20th century, Progressives began a frontal assault on those principles. Drawing on the new social sciences and a primitive understanding of economic relationships, their efforts reached fruition during the New Deal when the Constitution was essentially rewritten, without benefit of amendment. In a new Cato book, Richard Epstein traces this history, showing how Progressives replaced competitive markets with government‐​created cartels and monopolies. Please join us for a discussion of the roots of modern government in the Progressive Era.