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The essays in this volume are dedicated to two propositions. First, most generally, they aim to reinvigorate scholarly interest in the subject of legislation and bring a new level of analytical sophistication to the study of the legislature. Second, they are committed to looking at legislation developmentally, that is, legislation not as the simple static textual output of a law-drafting body, but as a dynamic social and political process-a living and breathing human activity with a distinct time dimension involving a complex pattern of beginnings, evolutions, maturations, mutations, emendations, and, of course, endings. These propositions nicely intersect with recent themes and priorities in the fields of law and American history.


Originally published as Novak, William J. "Making the Modern American Legislative State." In Living Legislation: Durability, Change, and the Politics of American Lawmaking, edited by Jeffery A. Jenkins and Eric M. Patashnik, 20-43. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Available from University of Chicago Press.