Title

Review of Daniel Webster and the Unfinished Constitution by Peter Charles Hoffer

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Winter 2022

ISSN

1530-9169

Publisher

The MIT Press

Language

en-US

Abstract

Hoffer’s latest book provides a kind of constitutional biography of Daniel Webster, a prominent American politician of the first half of the nineteenth century, famed for his oratory. Hoffer focuses on Webster’s role as a leader of the Supreme Court bar, arguing that Webster’s legal advocacy generated a coherent and influential constitutional jurisprudence. He suggests, in effect, that Webster was often the brains behind Chief Justice John Marshall’s campaign to establish a Federalist interpretation of the Constitution, one that could constrain the movements for radical democracy and states’ rights from the 1810s to the 1830s.

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