April 2012 Vol. 110 No. 6 THE REVIEW

Theorizing American Freedom

Anthony O'Rourke

Some intellectual concepts once central to America's constitutional discourse are, for better and worse, no longer part of our political language. These concepts may be so alien to us that they would remain invisible without carefully reexamining the past to challenge the received narratives of America's constitutional development. Should constitutional theorists undertake this kind of historical reexamination? If so, to what extent should they be willing to stray from the disciplinary norms that govern intellectual history? And what normative aims can they reasonably expect to achieve by exploring ideas in our past that are no longer reflected in the Constitution's text, structure, or interpretive doctrine? Aziz Rana's The Two Faces of American Freedom provides an occasion not only for reflecting on these questions, but also for exploring how deeply they are interrelated.

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