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A Community Built on WordsThe Constitution in History and Politics$
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H. Jefferson Powell

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226677231

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226677224.001.0001

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(p.211) Conclusion
A Community Built on Words
University of Chicago Press

The idea that a political community can be built on words is, from many perspectives, chimerical or even farcical. Mao Tse-tung wrote that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” and the history of the American Republic could supply abundant evidence for his dictum, from the Revolutionary War that made the Republic possible on. The maintenance of the constitutional Union itself during the crisis of 1860 to 1865 was the product of a bloody civil war, and many provisions of the Constitution's text are a reminder that this was no aberration, that as law the Constitution rests ultimately on the willingness of men and women to enforce it by violent means. State v. Mann and Korematsu v. United States bear witness to the fact that Americans are no more immune than any other human beings from the temptation to refuse to talk, to exclude others from what Doctorow called the “community of discourse.”

Keywords:   political community, political powers, civil war, State v. Mann, community of discourse, law enforcement

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