constitution, originalism, textualism, interpretation, history


For as long as the U.S. Constitution has existed, Americans have appealed to the history of its creation to interpret its meaning. But only since the advent of originalism—the well-known constitutional theory that requires interpreting the Constitution today in accordance with its original meaning—has historical study been so immediately implicated by constitutional interpretation. Despite potential, though, for meaningful exchange between originalists and historians, little has taken place. That originalism plays an ever-growing role in contemporary political culture only makes the lack of dialogue all the more unfortunate.