Sex and the Constitution

Sex and the Constitution

Sex, Religion, and Law From America's Origins to the Twenty-first Century

Book - 2017
Rate this:
WW Norton
There has never been a book like Sex and the Constitution, a one-volume history that chapter after chapter overturns popular shibboleths, while dramatically narrating the epic story of how sex came to be legislated in America.
Beginning his volume in the ancient and medieval worlds, Geoffrey R. Stone demonstrates how the Founding Fathers, deeply influenced by their philosophical forebears, saw traditional Christianity as an impediment to the pursuit of happiness and to the quest for human progress. Acutely aware of the need to separate politics from the divisive forces of religion, the Founding Fathers crafted a constitution that expressed the fundamental values of the Enlightenment.Although the Second Great Awakening later came to define America through the lens of evangelical Christianity, nineteenth-century Americans continued to view sex as a matter of private concern, so much so that sexual expression and information about contraception circulated freely, abortions before “quickening” remained legal, and prosecutions for sodomy were almost nonexistent.The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries reversed such tolerance, however, as charismatic spiritual leaders and barnstorming politicians rejected the values of our nation’s founders. Spurred on by Anthony Comstock, America’s most feared enforcer of morality, new laws were enacted banning pornography, contraception, and abortion, with Comstock proposing that the word “unclean” be branded on the foreheads of homosexuals. Women increasingly lost control of their bodies, and birth control advocates, like Margaret Sanger, were imprisoned for advocating their beliefs. In this new world, abortions were for the first time relegated to dank and dangerous back rooms.The twentieth century gradually saw the emergence of bitter divisions over issues of sexual “morality” and sexual freedom. Fiercely determined organizations and individuals on both the right and the left wrestled in the domains of politics, religion, public opinion, and the courts to win over the soul of the nation. With its stirring portrayals of Supreme Court justices, Sex and the Constitution reads like a dramatic gazette of the critical cases they decided, ranging from Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), to Roe v. Wade (abortion), to Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage), with Stone providing vivid historical context to the decisions that have come to define who we are as a nation.Now, though, after the 2016 presidential election, we seem to have taken a huge step backward, with the progress of the last half century suddenly imperiled. No one can predict the extent to which constitutional decisions safeguarding our personal freedoms might soon be eroded, but Sex and the Constitution is more vital now than ever before.

Baker & Taylor
A constitutional scholar traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have attempted to legislate sexual behavior from the ancient world to today, citing the agitators, moralists, lawmakers, and Supreme Court justices who have shaped some of the most divisive sexual debates.

Book News
This volume examines sex and law in the US, along with the role of religion, in different eras in the historical evolution of sexual mores and American constitutional law. It discusses the history of sex and its relation to religion from the ancient world through the Enlightenment; the evolution of sexual attitudes in the New World from the crossing of the Mayflower to the framing of the US Constitution; the resurgence of Protestant religiosity in the US between the beginning of the 19th century and the mid-20th century; and how judges interpreted and applied the Constitution beginning in the late 1950s to restrict the ability of religious conservatives to censor sexually oriented expression, ban contraception and abortion, and persecute homosexuals. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Baker
& Taylor

A renowned constitutional scholar traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have attempted to legislate sexual behavior from the ancient world to today, citing the agitators, moralists, lawmakers and Supreme Court justices who have shaped some of the nation's most divisive sexual debates.

Publisher: New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780871404695
0871404699
Branch Call Number: 345.7302 St71s
Characteristics: xxxii, 668 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...
BPL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top