Progressive constitutionalism : William Howard Taft as chief executive and chief justice.

dc.contributor.advisorNichols, David K.
dc.creatorBurns, Kevin J., 1989-
dc.date.accessioned2017-06-05T12:44:39Z
dc.date.available2017-06-05T12:44:39Z
dc.date.created2017-05
dc.date.issued2017-01-12
dc.date.submittedMay 2017
dc.date.updated2017-06-05T12:44:40Z
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the relationship between William Howard Taft’s constitutionalism and progressivism, considering both his term as president and his tenure on the Supreme Court. While Taft has traditionally been painted as a “stand-pat” conservative who sought to stymie progressive reforms, he actually shows the flexibility of the Constitution and its ability to adapt to different times and circumstances. Taft was both a conservative on constitutional matters and a progressive with respect to policy. His jurisprudence has been praised as a model for originalists, yet he inherited a host of progressive policies from Theodore Roosevelt. Taft shows a perspective on American politics quite foreign to the modern eye, seeking to enact progressive reforms within the bounds of constitutional restraint. Taft’s political project provides a viewpoint too often missed by both conservatives and liberals today. Frequently, conservatives view the Constitution through the lens of original intent, and argue that the Constitution requires that public policy be in line with the thought of the Founders of 1789. Liberals, on the other hand, are prone to focus on the broadest language of the Constitution – “general welfare,” “liberty,” and “equality” – to the virtual exclusion of the rest of the document. The common error is that both liberals and conservatives too often attempt to argue that the Constitution mandates their preferred policy priorities. Taft, in contrast, shows that the Constitution is a fundamental law, which creates a structure by which government is empowered to enact a plethora of policies. The Constitution, in his terms, has the “elasticity” to adapt to changing circumstances and permit the government to respond to any of a variety of problems. Thus, he shows that the Constitution does not require either conservative or liberal policies, but is open to both.
dc.description.versionThe current, openly accessible version of this dissertation is a revised version of the original work.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2104/10031
dc.language.isoen
dc.relationPortions of this dissertation have been incorporated into book: Burns, Kevin J. William Howard Taft’s Constitutional Progressivism. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2021. doi:10.2307/j.ctv1s04w99
dc.rights.accessrightsWorldwide access
dc.subjectWilliam Howard Taft. Presidency. Public law. Progressivism.
dc.titleProgressive constitutionalism : William Howard Taft as chief executive and chief justice.
dc.typeThesis
dc.type.materialtext
local.embargo.lift2022-05-01
local.embargo.terms2022-05-01
thesis.degree.departmentBaylor University. Dept. of Political Science.
thesis.degree.grantorBaylor University
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.namePh.D.

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