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By John W. Compton

The New Deal is usually stated to symbolize a sea swap in American constitutional heritage, overturning a century of precedent to allow an elevated federal executive, elevated law of the economic climate, and eroded estate protections. John Compton deals a shocking revision of this universal narrative, displaying that nineteenth-century evangelical Protestants, now not New Deal reformers, cleared the path for an important constitutional advancements of the 20 th century.

Following the nice non secular revivals of the early 1800s, American evangelicals launched into a campaign to get rid of immorality from nationwide existence by means of destroying the valuables that made it attainable. Their reason represented a right away problem to founding-era criminal protections of sinful practices akin to slavery, lottery playing, and purchasing and promoting liquor. even though evangelicals suggested the judiciary to bend the principles of constitutional adjudication on behalf of ethical reform, antebellum judges frequently resisted their overtures. yet after the Civil struggle, American jurists more and more acquiesced within the destruction of estate on ethical grounds.

In the early 20th century, Oliver Wendell Holmes and different critics of laissez-faire constitutionalism used the judiciary's attractiveness of evangelical ethical values to illustrate that conceptions of estate rights and federalism have been fluid, socially developed, and topic to amendment through democratic majorities. the end result used to be a revolutionary constitutional regime--rooted in evangelical Protestantism--that may carry sway for the remainder of the 20th century.

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