Robinson Woodward-Burns, "Hidden Laws: How State Constitutions Stabilize American Politics" (Yale UP, 2021)


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Robinson Woodward-Burns is the author of Hidden Laws: How the State Constitutions Stabilize American Politics, published by Yale University Press in 2021. Hidden Laws explores the relationship between both state and national constitutional development, debates, and reform. A sprawling study of American constitutional history, Woodward-Burns’s book shows how the federal government often deferred to state constitutional reform as a mechanism for dealing with national constitutional controversies. From banking to slavery, women’s suffrage to welfare, Woodward-Burns explores the myriad of ways constitutional controversies were debated and resolved in the United States.

Woodward-Burns is an Assistant Professor at Howard University.

Derek Litvak is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland—College Park. His dissertation, "The Specter of Black Citizens: Race, Slavery, and Citizenship in the Early United States," examines how citizenship was used to both bolster the institution of slavery and exclude Black Americans from the body politic.

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