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Grant number like: FA-53805-08

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Sotirios A. Barber
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2008 – 6/30/2009

American Constitutional Failure and Success

As ideological fissures weaken the foundations of civil life in America, constitutional theorists and social scientsts have begun to ask if the U.S. constitutional system is beginning to break down. At its present stage, this discussion is burdened by the absence of a general analysis of what might be meant by constitutional failure and success, the formal conditions for applying these concepts to concrete situations, and the different ways in which constitutions on the American model succeed or fail. The project proposed here is a book that will defend the importance of these second-order questions, survey alternative answers, and (borrowing from sources like Aristotle's Politics, The Federalist, and contemporary metaethics) propose answers of its own. The book will show that the capacity of institutions and political leaders to anticipate and provide for constitutional failure is central to the rational pursuit of constitutional ends and to constitutionalism as an ideology.