A Caltech Library Service

An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South [Book Review]

Kousser, J. Morgan (1989) An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South [Book Review]. Georgia Historical Quarterly, 73 (4). pp. 843-844. ISSN 0016-8297.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Comparisons across time or space are merely incomplete casual explanations, small descriptive steps on the path to analysis, historians’ conventional rhetorical substitutes for more comprehensive empirical generalizations. If the South has had a legal "legacy of ambivalence,” if its "spokesmen frequently sought to be in the federal order without being of it" (p. 6), as Kermit Hall and James Ely assert in their introduction to this collection of essays from a 1987 symposium, just what produced that ambivalence, assuming, as the editors do implicitly, that the South was more mentally divided than the North was? If courts in colonial Virginia were clerk-dominated, locally-oriented, and concerned overwhelmingly with procedures, not substance, as David Konig contends in the chronologically earliest essay in this volume, how, precisely, does that colony's experience compare to that of others, or of Virginia later, and what factors explain the variations? If eleven of the fifteen states that failed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment were southern, as Mary Bonsteel Tachau points out in a stimulating, if necessarily skeletal essay on the largely unexplored topic of southern women's legal history, what accounts for the greater degree of opposition to women's rights in the South? How, if at all, do the causes of these contrasts relate to slavery, segregation, fundamentalist Protestantism, climate, modes of production, "culture," or whatever?

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Review book
Additional Information:© 1989 Georgia Historical Society. Book review of: An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South. Edited by Kermit L. Hall and James W. Ely, Jr. Athens: University Of Georgia Press, 1989. Pp. ix, 403. ISBN: 9780820310558
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131009-093055651
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South by Kermit L. Hall; James W. Ely, J. Morgan Kousser The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. 73, No. 4 (Winter 1989), pp. 843-844 Published by: Georgia Historical Society Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:41789
Deposited By: SWORD User
Deposited On:15 Nov 2013 21:04
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:52

Repository Staff Only: item control page