JF: What led you to write The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution?
JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution?
JF: Why do we need to read The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution?
JC: The book demonstrates that many of the constitutional changes that trouble modern-day conservatives (weakened property protections, the growth of federal power vis-a-vis the states, the shift away from original intent) were the indirect result of the evangelical reform movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were not, as we are often told, the work of a small cabal of secular progressives.
JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?
JC: I’m actually trained as a political scientist, but I work in the subfield of American political development, which examines the historical construction of American political institutions and ideas.
JF: What is your next project?
Thanks to Megan Piette for organizing and facilitating The Author’s Corner.
Tom Van Dyke says
Depends on what “conservative” means. For instance “social conservatism” thinks of itself as synonymous with Biblical morality.
Per economics, “conservative” begins to get conflated with “libertarianism,” but there are useful distinctions to be made. Libertarianism of the Ayn Rand stripe has no brief for communitarianism, but to say that conservatism-as-GOP is opposed to providing for the poor and helpless is a canard deployed mostly by its opponents in the other party.*
*”Republicans want you to do die quickly.”—Rep. Alan Grayson [D-FL]. That sort of crap.