What Is Our Constitution?

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To recover our constitutional order, we must recover a more complete understanding of who we are as a people — and of what our founding document means.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he politics of 21st-century America has overflowed with constitutional controversies. From debates about war and emergency powers to litigation over health care, marriage, religious liberty, immigration, and financial regulation to the impeachment of a president, we have frequently fought over how to put into effect the 230-year-old blueprint for our government.

These have been important and necessary arguments. But to consider them together is to see that our understanding of constitutionalism, across the political spectrum, has become too narrow. And that narrowness is not only a symptom but also a cause of the dysfunction of our politics.

Simply put, we now tend

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

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