MU Press Book Series

Studies in Constitutional Democracy, the Kinder Institute’s interdisciplinary monograph series with University of Missouri Press, officially launched in April 2016 with the publication of Professor James Endersby and Professor Bill Horner’s co-authored Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation, the first manuscript to devote itself entirely to exploring the historical and political significance of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938), an integral, though often overlooked, landmark in civil rights history. Please visit the Studies in Constitutional Democracy catalog on the University of Missouri Press website for more information about this and other series titles.


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  • The Pursuit of Happiness in the Founding Era: An Intellectual History

    Carli N. Conklin

    In this insightful volume, Prof. Carli N. Conklin considers the pursuit of happiness across a variety of intellectual traditions and explores its usage in two key legal texts of the Founding Era, the Declaration and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

  • The Panic of 1819: The First Great Depression

    Andrew H. Browning

    The Panic of 1819 tells the story of the first nationwide economic collapse to strike the United States, which introduced Americans to the new phenomenon of boom and bust, changed the country’s attitudes towards wealth and poverty, spurred the political movement that became Jacksonian Democracy, and helped create the sectional divide that would lead to the Civil War.

  • The Myth of Coequal Branches: Restoring the Constitution’s Separation of Functions

    David J. Siemers

    The idea that the three branches of U.S. government are equal in power is taught in classrooms, proclaimed by politicians, and referenced in the media. But, as David Siemers shows, that idea is a myth, neither intended by the Founders nor true in practice.

  • Aristocracy in America: From the Sketch-Book of a German Nobleman

    Armin Mattes (Editor and Translator)

    In bringing to life journalist and German emigrant Francis J. Grund’s satiric response to Tocqueville’s famous Democracy in America, editor and translator Armin Mattes shows how Grund’s work can expand our understanding of the emerging political culture and democratic society in the antebellum United States.

  • From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction

    Forrest A. Nabors

    Offering a new perspective on mid-nineteenth century America, University of Alaska-Anchorage Professor Forrest A. Nabors shows that the ultimate goal of the Republican Party, the war, and Reconstruction was the same: to preserve and advance republicanism as the American founders understood it against its natural, existential enemy, oligarchy.

  • Bureaucracy in America: The Administrative State’s Challenge to Constitutional Government

    Joseph Postell

    In this trenchant intellectual history, Postell demonstrates how modern administrative law has attempted to restore the principles of American constitutionalism but has failed to be as effective as earlier approaches to regulation.

  • John Henry Wigmore and the Rules of Evidence

    Andrew Porwancher

    At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States was reeling from the effects of rapid urbanization and industrialization. Time-honored verities proved obsolete, and intellectuals in all fields sought ways to make sense of an increasingly unfamiliar reality. The legal system in particular began to buckle under the weight of its anachronism.

  • Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation

    James Endersby and William T. Horner

    Prof. Bill Horner and James Endersby’s recent book is the first study to focus entirely on the Gaines case and the vital role played by the NAACP and its lawyers—especially Charles Houston, known as “the man who killed Jim Crow”—as they advanced a concerted strategy to produce political change.


The United States presents world political history with a paradox: a constitutional democracy whose constitution barely mentions democracy. A constantly roiling political free-for-all, it has yet remained more rigidly bound to its constitutional rules, and more constitutionally stable, than any other country. The interplay of these fluid elements is both the inspiration and subject matter for this series.

While examinations of American constitutional democracy is central to the series, we broadly construe this thematic focus to cover not only the philosophical foundations and historical origins of the nation’s democratic and constitutional traditions but also the evolution, application, and reinterpretation of these traditions in later periods and around the globe. With this in mind, topics that we can imagine future titles in the series exploring include:

  • The reception and refraction of constitutional and democratic ideas in American culture
  • Theory and practice of the Electoral College
  • The constitutional or democratic ideas of forgotten forces in American politics
  • Histories of the way particular presidential elections turned on constitutional issues or radically transformed prevailing interpretations and uses of the Constitution
  • The interplay or competition between constitutional democracy and other forms of politics in American history
  • Criticisms and re-appropriations of American constitutional democracy outside the United States


For further information or to submit a manuscript proposal, please contact: Gary Kass, Acquisitions Editor, University of Missouri Press or one of the series editors: Justin B. Dyer or Jeffrey L. Pasley.

Justin B. Dyer, Director of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, is Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri–Columbia and author of American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence; Natural Law and the Antislavery Constitutional Tradition; and Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning.

Jeffrey L. Pasley, Associate Director of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, is Professor of History at the University of Missouri–Columbia, author of The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy and “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, and co-editor of Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic.