Robert J. Sharpe and Patricia I. McMahon examine the Persons case as a pivotal moment in the struggle for women's rights and as one of the most important constitutional decisions in Canadian history. Lord Sankey's decision overruled the Supreme Court of Canada's judgment that the courts could not depart from the original intent of the framers of Canada's constitution in 1867. Describing the constitution as a "living tree," the decision led to a reassessment of the nature of the constitution itself. After the Persons case, it could no longer be viewed as fixed and unalterable, but had to be treated as a document that, in the words of Sankey, was in "a continuous process of evolution."
The Persons Case is a comprehensive study of this important event, examining the case itself, the ruling of the Privy Council, and the profound affect that it had on women's rights and the constitutional history of Canada.
The fully-revised fourth edition explores new critical perspectives, recent political events, and current challenges to gender equality, including the 2016 presidential election and Hillary Clinton's candidacy, the fight for equal pay and paid leave, and the debate over reproductive rights and campus sexual assault. It also includes current scholarship on the intersections of race, class, and gender, and expanded coverage of minority women, women in the military, and conservative women. This text, and its two-path framework, is essential to understanding women's pursuit of equality via the political system.
Daniel W. Hamilton locates that change in the crucible of the Civil War. In the early days of the war, Congress passed the First and Second Confiscation Acts, authorizing the Union to seize private property in the rebellious states of the Confederacy, and the Confederate Congress responded with the broader Sequestration Act. The competing acts fueled a fierce, sustained debate among legislators and lawyers about the principles underlying alternative ideas of private property and state power, a debate which by 1870 was increasingly dominated by today’s view of more limited government power.
Through its exploration of this little-studied consequence of the debates over confiscation during the Civil War, The Limits of Sovereignty will be essential to an understanding of the place of private property in American law and legal history.