Rights-consciousness as an Object of Historical Inquiry: Revisiting the Constitution of Aspiration

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Hendrik Hartog's article The Constitution of Aspiration paved new ways of thinking about the historical formation and political significance of rights-consciousness. This Essay considers the contribution of social histories of rights-consciousness to our understanding of the underpinnings and consequences of constitutional change. In particular, we consider the impact of this literature on debates regarding questions of periodization in American constitutional history and on debates concerning the relationship between egalitarian and counter-egalitarian strands of rights-consciousness. We critically evaluate the importance and limits of these contributions by focusing on methodological and interpretive questions that emerge from recent literature on struggles for racial and gender equality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-511
Number of pages7
JournalLaw and Social Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Bar Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Law


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