Prof. Magliocca's New Book on William Jennings Bryan Debuts in May
Although Populist candidate William Jennings Bryan lost the presidential elections of 1896, 1900, and 1908, he was the most influential political figure of his era. In his latest book, Professor Gerard N. Magliocca explores how Bryan's effort to reach the White House energized conservatives across the nation and caused a transformation in constitutional law. The Tragedy of William Jennings Bryan: Constitutional Law and the Politics of Backlash will be available in May 2011 from Yale University Press.
Responding negatively to the Populist agenda, the Supreme Court established a host of new constitutional principles during the 1890s. Many of them proved long-lasting and highly consequential, including the "separate but equal" doctrine supporting racial segregation, the authorization of the use of force against striking workers, and the creation of the liberty of contract. The judicial backlash of the 1890s—the most powerful the United States has ever experienced—illustrates vividly the risks of seeking fundamental social change. Magliocca concludes by examining the lessons of the Populist experience for advocates of change in our own divisive times.
“This book tells a story about constitutional transition that is especially relevant in the midst of the debate between President Obama and the Tea Party about the direction of the country,” says Professor Magliocca.
Gerard N. Magliocca joined the faculty of the law school following two years as an associate with Covington & Burling and one year as a clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the Second Circuit. He received the Best New Professor Award from the student body in 2004 and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) Award in 2006. In 2007, his book on Andrew Jackson was the subject of an hour-long program on C-Span's "Book TV." In the Fall of 2008, Professor Magliocca held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He is also a regular blogger on Concurring Opinions and Balkinization.