David talks to Gary Gerstle about the history of the United States Constitution and its current role in American political life. Is it still fit for purpose in the twenty-first century and what could be done to change it?
“American democracy is stuck, but because of the Constitution it also has a history of getting stuck.”
The Constitution not only divided power between the federal government and the states; it also gave each level of governance a different theory of power.
The biggest changes to the Constitution are not through amendments but through interpretation and practice.
The 1960s saw a split between those who believed in originalism versus the living constitution.
Today, federal paralysis means that there is a resurgence of activity on the state level.
And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
Set your alarm clocks… next week, Diane Coyle talks to David about economic well-being. What do the statistics miss and how has the digital revolution affected our quality of life?