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Everyday Constitutionalism in a Nation of Joiners

Everyday Constitutionalism in a Nation of Joiners

Chapter:
(p.93) Four Everyday Constitutionalism in a Nation of Joiners
Source:
The Making of Tocqueville'S America
Author(s):
Kevin Butterfield
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226297118.003.0005

This chapter will examine the ordinary experiences of membership and association over the first three decades of the nineteenth century. This chapter will emphasize some of the ways that many American men and women came to agree on how best to join together. They did so in ways that reveal an early-nineteenth-century American society that had come to embrace rules, formal procedure, and well-defined benefits and obligations in virtually every collective enterprise. How joiners and organizers chose to structure their collective endeavors was, essentially, the everyday experience of constitutional self-government, albeit in private, voluntary associations.

Keywords:   voluntary association, constitutionalism, by-laws, women’s associations, agricultural societies, procedural fairness

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