Rocky Mountain Constitution Making, 1850-1912. (Contributions in Political Science)

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9780313255380: Rocky Mountain Constitution Making, 1850-1912. (Contributions in Political Science)
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Bakken addresses important issues of constitutional history in the context of a seminal period in the history of the American West. He describes the challenges which faced the participants in eight Western constitutional conventions. His analysis answers questions of how consensus was reached and how that consensus reflected the compromise between the particular needs of the states and fundamental principles. Bakken outlines the issues of public policy which the constitution makers faced: issues ranging from resource allocation and taxation to the role of corporations in the community. He also explains how the delegates attempted to express the values of their constituencies while striving to define the concept of the public good.

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About the Author:

GORDON MORRIS BAKKEN is Professor of History and Director of Faculty Affairs at California State University, Fullerton.

Review:

""Aptly timed to appear in the bicentennial year of the US Constitution, Bakken's book on the conventions of eight mountain states (Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Idaho), between 1850 and 1910, is an excellent addition to any library, especially in the West. The book examines the territorial experiences, environmental influences, and dynamic personalities that shaped these state constitutions. The emphasis is on broad regional policy concerns (e.g., taxation on mining, women's suffrage, labor and corporate rights, and water).... Bakken concludes, in opposition to some legal theorists, including Morton Horwitz, that these state constitutions illustrate a recurrence to fundamental principles of the founding period.' Bakken (history, California State University, Fullerton), worked closely with noted legal scholar William Hurst (Wisconsin), and is well versed in this field, having written Development of Law on the Rocky Mountain Frontier (1983). The work is short and limited in scope, but full of details on this narrow subject; it contains 50 pages of notes and bibliography.... Upper-division undergraduates in American history and government will find Bakken's book useful in understanding both the roots of the republic and the fibre of the frontier."'"-Choice

"This book is the fruit of Gordon Bakken's two decades of research on the process of constitution-making in the Rocky Mountain West between 1850 and 1912. In a careful appraisal of the membership, voting records, and legal thinking of the delegates who shaped the fundamental laws of these western states, Bakken shows how contemporary attitudes toward the law and local political alignments influenced the writing of western constitutions. Bakken combines a mastery of the diverse primary sources in all the states he examined with the use of quantitative techniques to look at the outcome of these constitutional conventions in their full complexity. The range of the author's scholarship is impressive, and his work replaces older studies of this subject.... Bakken's volume will be a rich source for those seeking a record of how Rocky Mountain constitutions came to be in the nineteenth century and beyond. If few will read it for the play of personality or the felicity of Bakken's prose, all its readers can admire the commitment that sustained its author from the rigors of dissertation research to the eventual publication of this useful and informative study."-Montana Review

?This book is the fruit of Gordon Bakken's two decades of research on the process of constitution-making in the Rocky Mountain West between 1850 and 1912. In a careful appraisal of the membership, voting records, and legal thinking of the delegates who shaped the fundamental laws of these western states, Bakken shows how contemporary attitudes toward the law and local political alignments influenced the writing of western constitutions. Bakken combines a mastery of the diverse primary sources in all the states he examined with the use of quantitative techniques to look at the outcome of these constitutional conventions in their full complexity. The range of the author's scholarship is impressive, and his work replaces older studies of this subject.... Bakken's volume will be a rich source for those seeking a record of how Rocky Mountain constitutions came to be in the nineteenth century and beyond. If few will read it for the play of personality or the felicity of Bakken's prose, all its readers can admire the commitment that sustained its author from the rigors of dissertation research to the eventual publication of this useful and informative study.?-Montana Review

?"Aptly timed to appear in the bicentennial year of the US Constitution, Bakken's book on the conventions of eight mountain states (Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Idaho), between 1850 and 1910, is an excellent addition to any library, especially in the West. The book examines the territorial experiences, environmental influences, and dynamic personalities that shaped these state constitutions. The emphasis is on broad regional policy concerns (e.g., taxation on mining, women's suffrage, labor and corporate rights, and water).... Bakken concludes, in opposition to some legal theorists, including Morton Horwitz, that these state constitutions illustrate a recurrence to fundamental principles of the founding period.' Bakken (history, California State University, Fullerton), worked closely with noted legal scholar William Hurst (Wisconsin), and is well versed in this field, having written Development of Law on the Rocky Mountain Frontier (1983). The work is short and limited in scope, but full of details on this narrow subject; it contains 50 pages of notes and bibliography.... Upper-division undergraduates in American history and government will find Bakken's book useful in understanding both the roots of the republic and the fibre of the frontier."'?-Choice

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