A People's Charter by James MacGregor Burns
The Pursuit of Rights in America

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Synopsis

Why did the same men who ratified the notion of "unalienable rights" implicitly withhold rights from slaves? Would the framers of the Constitution recognize the right of workers to strike or of women to have abortions? Does the First Amendment protect the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe?

These are just some of the questions raised in A People's Charter, a panoramic and often enthralling history of the ideas that gave birth to the Bill of Rights--and the often ferocious struggles that have erupted around it in the last 200 years. From the abolition movement to the racial, sexual, and economic battlegrounds of the present day, the book is a lucid, vital portrait of the ways in which Americans have defined and debated freedom.

 

About James MacGregor Burns

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James MacGregor Burns, Ph.D., is the author of noted studies of presidents and other political leaders. As senior scholar, he teaches and researches leadership at The James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland in College Park, and is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Williams College. Stewart Burns edited the third volume of the "King Papers, Birth of a New Age", and has written the only published history of the Montgomery bus boycott, "Daybreak of Freedom". He was a consultant on the award-winning HBO dramatic film "Boycott", based on his book. Previously at Stanford University, he now teaches at College of the Redwoods in northern California.
 
Published December 3, 1991 by Knopf. 577 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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and though their material is organized in brisk, more or less chronological order and flares fitfully into life with the occasional gripping vignette (e.g., how abolitionist Angelina GrimkÇ nervously broke the taboo against public speaking by women), they frequently lapse into odd interpretations...

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